Students’ use and understanding of feedback in a university context: How and why students use feedback

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dc.contributor.advisor Hill, M en Harper, Amanda en 2019-03-12T21:24:58Z en 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Students often report that feedback experiences at university are insufficient to make progress. The size of many large science courses means the provision of personalised and timely feedback to individual students is challenging. Online systems have been promoted as a way students can receive feedback for learning. This thesis investigated a technology system designed to provide feedback and help to students. The goal was to determine the extent to which students engaged with learning opportunities that deepen their understanding as they work toward their learning goals. Of equal importance has been checking with the students themselves about their understanding and choices they made with respect to their feedback use in different learning contexts during their undergraduate biology courses. To facilitate this study, Hattie and Timperley's (2007) model of feedback was used as a framework to inform both the research design and subsequent analyses. Utilising a quasi-experimental approach mixed with an interpretive qualitative study focus group design, this study was conducted in two sequential phases. The first phase investigated the extent to which students used feedback information when it is provided in a self-directed online homework system in a first-year biology course, and whether this supported learning and improved achievement on summative assessments. Structural equation modelling demonstrated that feedback was not necessarily accessed and used by students, but that students with weaker starting competence, who persisted with using the online system information throughout the entire course, were helped academically by using hints. In the second phase, qualitative approaches provided a richer insight to students' perceptions about their use and level of engagement with feedback in the online system and across their undergraduate experience. Students were selected from Phase 1 data according to whether they were high or low users of feedback in the online system and high or low achievers. The use of Hattie and Timperley's feedback model identified similarities and differences in the students' perceptions about how and why they used feedback. In the online system, students used feedback for building domain knowledge and rehearsal, in preference to using feedback to support their learning processes and progressing to a deeper understanding. Students prioritised feed up and feedback at task level, contributing to their sense of agency in learning for summative assessments by building information capital. The delay in recognising the value of feed forward for cognitive activities in learning highlighted the importance of self-regulatory skills at university. Multiple aspects of a learner's situation influenced the strategies they used when using feedback in general, including time constraints, a focus on summative assessment, the level at which they received feedback, the consequences of feedback use at different levels, their sense of wellbeing in their relationships with teachers and peers and their emotions and feelings. This study supported Hattie and Timperley's assertion that receiving and using feedback requires much skill by the students, particularly at self-regulation and process levels. Students in this study prioritised their engagement at task level. Although students attended to the goals of: what they need to know, where they are in relation to these goals and what they need to do to get there, the findings of this thesis showed these goals can compete against each other, leading to different outcomes from inconsistent and unpredictable feedback use. The thesis makes a useful contribution to the practice of the teaching of biology, in terms of the importance of supporting student use of feedback by addressing the contextual aspects within which formative assessment is delivered. The provision of low-stakes learning opportunities that incorporate feedback use at different levels needs to recognise the multidimensional influences on students' willingness to receive and use feedback. Supporting students to develop metacognitive skills to ensure formative assessment is productive, and addressing negative emotions that affect students may enable them to reframe their perceptions of feedback and how they use it. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265119810302091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Students’ use and understanding of feedback in a university context: How and why students use feedback en
dc.type Thesis en Education en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 765888 en Science en Biological Sciences en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-03-13 en

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