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Learning Enhancement and Development

Poster 4

Defining Quality Feedback in Healthcare Education

Dr Dave Flinton - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Dr Soph Willis - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

Greater student engagement can result from effective assessment strategies that recognise "assessment as a motivator”. Student experience is significantly shaped by their experiences of assessment, promoting more positive experiences is key to sustaining educational engagement. Improved experiences of assessment can help meet strategic priorities to promote retention and reduce attrition.


When looking at the literature it is important to acknowledge that there are different conceptualizations of assessment feedback, (Nicol, 2008; Evans 2013). High quality feedback is demanded and valued by students and is a critical metric in trying to meet the students’ expectations. However, “Feedback quality” consistently receives lower satisfaction scores in our student surveys compared with other areas of the student learning experience; a pattern reflected throughout HE (Beaumont et al., 2011).

Aim: To establish which aspects of feedback are most important to students.

Methodology: The study utilised the Q-method, an effective method to identify the various shared perspectives that participants had about assessment. Participants were from Midwifery and Radiography programmes.  Each participant was presented with a pack of 36 cards each with a randomly numbered statement about assessment feedback (created from existing literature on the subject), the Q-set. Participants were asked to sort the cards in order from least to most important. A template was created which forced the statements into a quasi-normal distribution shape. Once completed, participants were asked to justify why their two most important statements were of greatest significance to them.

The data was then analysed by PQMethod a programme developed specifically for this type of analysis.

Key findings:

Viewpoints are important to understand to allow us to tailor feedback and four patterns of feedback seeking behaviour and perceptions were identified. These four factors explained 65% of the variation observed. Most students were in the factor called, “Individual motivation” as the important aspects to them were motivational, consistent feedback that was returned on an individual basis

Although commonality between the professions was identified, some key differences existed, perhaps arising due to inherent differences in professional socialisation; but a more likely explanation is that their responses are being modified by feedback experience.


Beaumont, C., O'Doherty and M., Shannon, L. (2011) “Reconceptualising assessment feedback: a key to improving student learning?” Studies in Higher Education. 36; 6,671-687.

Evans, C. (2013) “Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education.” Review of Educational Research. 83; 1, 70-120.

Nicol, D. (2008) “Transforming assessment and feedback: Enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year.” Scotland: Quality Assurance Agency.