Formative feedback to students: the mismatch between faculty perceptions and student expectations
Perera, J.; Lee, N.; Win, K.; Perera, J.; Wijesuriya, L.
Medical Teacher 30(4): 395-399
Formative assessments and other learning tools are ineffective in the absence of formative feedback. A study was carried out on preclinical students and teachers using mixed methods approach that included questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions and post survey discussions to determine perceptions and expectations of students on feedback and those of teachers. Students expected formative feedback to be incorporated into all teaching activities from the beginning of the course in medicine to promote self regulated and self directed learning. Students stated that provision of model answers and grades in assessments are inadequate but require teacher student dialogue sessions to clarify issues. Students considered immediate feedback or feedback within two weeks on a written activity, simple but focused, by a content expert would be the best form. In contrast, the teachers perceived the feedback provided using a model answer by a non content expert to be acceptable. Students also believed that formative feedback is of particular importance in salvaging poor performers. There is a need to create awareness among teachers on the usefulness of this tool in higher education and for moulding teaching practices by including training on this aspect of teaching-learning, in routine faculty development activities. The study showed the importance of including feedback as a generic feature in all learning activities, and this may require incorporating into institutional policy for successful implementation.