Towards effective feedback in higher education: bridging theory and practice

Jelle Geyskens, Vincent Donche, Peter Van Petegem


Giving feedback is an important skill for lecturers in higher education and has a major influence on the quality of learning (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). However, it appears that, in its practical application, not all feedback is equally effective. This is a problem which applies to both students and lecturers. In working towards more effective feedback in higher education, Sadler’s framework (1983, 1989, 2010) can prove a source of inspiration. Sadler posits three conditions for achieving effective and efficient feedback in classroom practice. The first condition refers to the necessity of drawing up assessment criteria and making sure students are familiar with them. The second condition posits that feedback has to include a comparison between the actual level of the product and the expected level. The last condition suggests that feedback has to include information that can help students to improve assignments. In this article we examine the various forms and conditions of feedback in more depth, with the emphasis on the practical application of theory. We also focus in detail on various aspects of how best to guide and supervise students that have been shown to have an important influence on making feedback more effective.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082