Giving Students Feedback – myths and misunderstandings

[graphic from]

It is midterm at many colleges around the country and here at Mott Community College, as well. This makes it a perfect time to reflect upon a recent report published by whose slogan is “Prevent Plagiarism. Engage Students.” The article, titled Instructor Feedback Writ Large: Student Perceptions on Effective Feedback provides some interesting insights into the general disconnect between what instructors THINK students want to see in the way of feedback, and what the students say they want.

While it has long been recognized as a valuable practice towards improving student success, writing effective feedback takes time. And faculty are often loathe to spend more time on an activity that they believe students do not value. But here, the authors of the study show, is where one of the first disconnects occurs. According to their study, as many as 70% of students see written of typed feedback as being effective. Unfortunately, only a minority (39%) of faculty believe that to be the case.

When it comes to face-to-face feedback, the majority of both students and faculty believe that this form of feedback is “very” or “extremely effective.” But apparently only 30% of students indicate that they are receiving feedback this way.

It was interesting to note that – while appreciated – high praise was not necessarily valued by students as much as other forms of feedback such as suggestions for improvement (4.04 on a scale of 1-5). And this is where some of the highest disconnect seemed to exist between faculty and students. For example, only 33% of faculty believed that general overall comments were effective, while nearly 67% of students felt this type of feedback was very useful. But in some regards, the faculty and students were not as far apart as the article headlines would suggest. The faculty and students seemed to indicate some agreement when it came to some of the types of feedback. For instance, 59% of educators felt that “suggestions for improvement” were “very” or “extremely effective” while 76% of students felt this way. And when it came to the use of examples, both groups came very close, nearly 66% of educators and 69% of students felt this type of feedback was “very” or “extremely effective.”

Read the full whitepaper here. [You’ll have to sign up for free access.]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s