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Poster 2

Clinical feedback mechanisms in an academic setting

Allison Harris - Ultrasound Clinical Co-ordinator | School of Health Sciences

Gill Harrison - Programme Director | School of Health Sciences

Formative feedback is essential to students’ learning and progression (Schwartz, 2017). It allows students to reflect on their performance and consider how to make improvements (QAA, 2018).  Formative sessions are held to assess several areas of practice and skills development, during which students undertake a range of activities from formative clinical assessments, a viva voce assessment reviewing clinical cases and small group communication role play. Information about knowledge or skills gaps, identified during these sessions, assists the programme team to work with students to develop action plans in association with clinical colleagues in practice. The nature of the sessions also enables students to develop reflective skills, by challenging them to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own learning.

A formative viva voce assessment assists students to link theory to practice (Schwartz, 2017), whilst preparing them for their final summative clinical and academic assessments. Many students find the viva type assessment stressful (Knight et al, 2016), so opportunities to practice are highly valued.

Within the sessions students are given an opportunity to deliver difficult news using role play, which is important training for their future role (Eason and Harrison, 2017). This session also enables peer feedback on participants’ interactions, allowing students to practice giving feedback. The ability to give constructive feedback, to encourage development and trust, rather than being detrimental to learning (Haure et al, 2014) is an important skill for all.

This poster will aim to share some of the methods used within the formative assessment days, review some of the benefits of formative assessment, immediate feedback and the role of peer feedback. Discussion will also focus on the challenges of using this format allowing readers to consider whether any of these methods could be applied to their own programmes.


Eason, S. and Harrison, G. (2017) Communication skills training in ultrasound: Ultrasound practitioners’ views. Imaging & Therapy Practice. January, pp. 25-30.

Hauer, K., ten Cate, O., Boscardin, C., Irby, D., Lobst, W. and O’Sullivan, P. (2014) “Understanding trust as an essential element of trainee supervision and learning in the workplace”, Advances in Health Sciences Education. 19 (3), pp. 435 - 456.

Knight, R., Dipper, L. and Cruice, M. (2016): Viva survivors – the effect of peer-mentoring on pre-viva anxiety in early-years students, Studies in Higher Education, 43 (1), pp.190-199, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2016.1161018

QAA (2018) UK quality code for Higher Education: Advice and guidance Assessment Understanding assessment: its role in safeguarding academic standards and quality in higher education A guide for early career staff. Available at:  (Accessed 5 March 2019)

Schwartz, R. (2017) Using the GPS of formative and summative assessment to guide teaching and learning. White Paper. Wolters Kluwer. Available at: (Accessed 2 March 2018)