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4TU.
Centre for
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TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
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Website: 4TU.nl

Project introduction and background information

The project Optimal Feedback to Students aims to gain insights in optimal feedback mechanisms and students’ needs for feedback. The goal of the project is to provide an overview of various feedback mechanisms and how to use them for various groups of students and teaching activities. The focus of the project is on teacher-student feedback in which we take the needs of teachers and students as well as the study context into consideration. 

In this project we consider the following feedback mechanisms to student feedback and develop the following five sub-projects:

1.      Peer feedback

2.      Multisource feedback in a process of 360-degree peer feedback 

3.      Feedback for self-regulated learners in their bachelor and master thesis projects

4.      Feedback for multidisciplinary groups of students

5.      Development of assessment criteria for feedback through co-creation of assessment rubrics

Objective and expected outcomes

Objectives: For each of the mechanisms for student feedback, a short overview of the relevant literature is provided. We empirically examine feedback mechanisms based on two research designs: 

  • 13 semi-structured expert interviews with experienced teachers at the University of Twente about their best practices regarding feedback in education
  • Survey among 289 students of the Faculty Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences of the University of Twente of various study programmes

Peer Feedback

Peer feedback means that students provide and receive feedback from their peers. Our results have shown that students and teachers seem to be quite traditional about the mechanisms that are used to provide feedback to students. Not many teachers in the faculty make use of peer feedback yet, they prefer relying on their own expertise and experience in providing feedback for students. On the other hand, students prefer to receive feedback from the teachers. The reason for this could be that students are not used to other sources of feedback or do not trust other students to provide feedback. Our results show that since students are used to receiving feedback from teachers, students also think that they learn most from receiving feedback and find providing feedback more difficult. 

Multisource feedback in a process of 360-degree peer feedback 

Receiving feedback from multiple stakeholders and perspectives seems more beneficial than receiving feedback from teachers. 360-degree peer feedback includes feedback from teachers, peers, business partners and self-evaluation of student work. The results of the survey and interviews showed that teachers do not yet use other sources of feedback than. When students work with a company, they do not seek feedback from business partners. The only exception is during their bachelor and master assignment. Self-evaluation is offered by teachers, but this feedback mechanism is usually not integrated in the 360-degree peer feedback process

Feedback for self-regulated learners in their bachelor and master thesis projects

Writing a bachelor or master thesis is an essential step for the educational career of a student. This requires teachers to give a delicate balance of feedback on the content and process. Students have to integrate theoretical elements they learned throughout the study and apply scientific theories to solve a research problem. They also learn to manage the project, feedback, and the expectations from diverse sources. The integration of feedback seems to be considered part of the student’s responsibilities. 

Feedback for multidisciplinary groups of students

Multi-disciplinarity is important in the UT’s educational programmes and even though students consider feedback as more important when working in multidisciplinary groups, teachers seem to lack knowledge about how to optimally make use of feedback for multidisciplinary groups. It became clear that teachers did not always know how to make use of different background of students with multidisciplinary groups. It should be necessary to combine knowledge or skills from different disciplines to be able to complete the assignment. New feedback mechanisms need to be developed for multidisciplinary assignments in which students have to combine knowledge from different disciplines. 

Development of assessment criteria for feedback through co-creation of assessment rubrics

In this sub-project, it was explored to what extent teachers and students have experience with and see the added value of co-creating assessment criteria and rubrics. In these rubrics, students get the freedom provide their own input about assessment criteria. The results showed that student involvement in the process of co-creating assessment criteria and rubrics is not a common activity yet.

Teachers see possible benefits of engaging students in this process, but they feel that students need to be trained in order to have a valuable contribution. Students have indicated that they do not feel confident enough to create these assessment criteria themselves. The outcomes of both teachers and students suggests that the ‘co’ in co-creation is a relevant addition. However, a right balance needs to be found between the input that students can provide within the context that is created by the teacher (e.g., course objectives and training/assistance).