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Faculty Publication: Professor of Education Alison Cook-Sather

February 14, 2024

What do Students and Teachers Talk About When They Talk Together About Feedback and Assessment? Expanding Notions of Feedback Literacy Through Pedagogical Partnership

Authors: Matthews, Kelly E.; Sherwood, Catherine; Enright, Eimear; Cook-Sather, Alison

Source: Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 49:1, 26-38, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2023.2170977

Publication Type: Journal Article

Abstract: Responding to calls for partnership among students and teachers in feedback and assessment, this study explores the question: What do students and teaching staff talk about when they talk together about feedback and assessment? We used reflexive thematic analysis to interpret 15 hours of conversation involving 14 students and 22 staff members as they collaborated to redesign feedback practices in eight courses by co-creating a plan for change. The results revealed that participants largely focused on the challenges of feedback and assessment, such as university policy, lack of time and student disengagement. However, when they dug deeper into challenges within their sphere of control, conversations opened spaces for students to actively participate and contribute their knowledge. Students displayed intellectual candour and expanded notions of what counts as feedback to them, disentangling feedback from assessment to advance continuous feedback practices in supportive classroom environments. We argue that both student and teacher feedback literacy can be developed when teaching staff are willing to listen to students but that partnership processes that build and enhance feedback literacies are neither automatic nor straightforward. Further research to understand the conditions that enable partnership to build staff and student feedback literacy would advance collective knowledge.