August 6th, 2009

Sharing the Feedback


In a study exploring what motivates students to provide faculty feedback about teaching and learning, results indicated students find it “desirable” when faculty share the results of the anonymous feedback they have provided the instructor. The study’s author identifies five reasons why it’s beneficial to share feedback results with students.

· Sharing the feedback shows students that the teacher has looked at the results and is serious about using the feedback they’ve provided. It’s a way of valuing what students have provided, which can motivate them to provide even more and better feedback.

· Sharing the feedback gives teachers the opportunity to ask for clarification. This is especially valuable if results are contradictory or if it’s not clear what actions in the classroom resulted in certain assessments.

· Sharing feedback helps students put their assessments in context. Are their beliefs shared by the majority of students or held by one or two students?

· After sharing feedback, the instructor can propose possible changes and ask students for feedback on those before they are implemented.

· Talking about the results also gives the teacher the opportunity to explain why some recommended changes are not going to be made—what the students suggest would not allow the instructor to achieve certain course goals, etc.

Based on my experience sharing evaluative feedback with students, I would add one more. It gives teachers the chance to offer the class some feedback. “You’ve given me some feedback about how my teaching is impacting your efforts to learn. I’d to give you some feedback on how your class is impacting my efforts to teach. I know I could teach better if you would give me more nonverbal feedback … if you’d look interested , if you are; nod, if you agree; smile, if you hear something funny; look confused, if you are. I promise I won’t point out your confusion to the rest of the class. A lot of times I look out and get no feedback. You look alive but beyond that I’m not seeing much response.”

Reference: Caulfield, J. (2007). What motivates students to provide feedback to teachers about teaching and learning: An expectancy theory perspective. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1 (1), 1-13.