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Enabling and valuing feedback literacies

Pitt, Edd, Winstone, Naomi (2022) Enabling and valuing feedback literacies. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 48 (2). pp. 149-157. ISSN 0260-2938. E-ISSN 1469-297X. (doi:10.1080/02602938.2022.2107168) (KAR id:99479)

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There has been a clear shift in the representation of feedback in the scholarly literature. Whereas feedback was once framed as the information provided by teachers to their students on their work, recent years have witnessed greater recognition of the agentic role of students in feedback processes, in terms of their responsibilities to process and enact feedback to inform their learning (e.g. Boud and Molloy 2013; Winstone, Pitt, and Nash 2021). Whilst there is a growing appreciation that the true impact of feedback comes not from what teachers do but from what students do, this does not mean that the role of teachers is redundant. Feedback design is an important activity for teachers, thus creating environments in which learners can take on greater responsibility in feedback processes.

Alongside increasing emphasis on the role of students in feedback processes has been the development of a body of research exploring the skills and capacities of students that facilitate such involvement. Such skills and capacities are most commonly discussed as part of frameworks for ‘student feedback literacy’ (Sutton 2012; Carless and Boud 2018; Molloy, Boud, and Henderson 2020). The publication of these frameworks has instigated an explosion of conceptual and empirical work on the topic of feedback literacy, including ecological and sociomaterial perspectives (e.g. Chong 2021; Gravett 2022), the development of tools for its measurement (e.g. Zhan 2021; Song 2022; Yu, Di Zhang, and Liu 2022), and pedagogic approaches to the development of students’ feedback literacy (e.g. Winstone, Mathlin, and Nash 2019; Ketonen, Nieminen, and Hähkiöniemi 2020; Malecka, Boud, and Carless 2020; Fernández-Toro and Duensing 2021; Hoo, Deneen, and Boud 2022; Man, Kong, and Chau 2022; Winstone, Balloo, et al. 2022).

Approaches to the development of student feedback literacy recognise the important role of teachers in enabling students to develop their own understandings of feedback processes. In this way, then, teachers also hold skills and capacities related to their practice in feedback processes. Carless and Winstone (2020) built upon Carless and Boud (2018) framework for student feedback literacy to propose a conceptual framework for teacher feedback literacy. They defined teacher feedback literacy as ‘knowledge, expertise and dispositions to design feedback processes in ways which enable student uptake of feedback and seed the development of student feedback literacy’ (Carless and Winstone 2020, p. 4). They outlined three dimensions of teacher feedback literacy: design (planning curricula and assessment tasks such that students come to appreciate the purpose of feedback, build the capacity for evaluative judgement, and take responsibility for implementing feedback information) relational (showing emotional sensitivity and empathy in feedback processes, and building trust with students) and pragmatic (managing the tensions created by competing functions of feedback, making decisions about workload such that time is invested in feedback that is likely to have an impact, and managing the constraints whilst exploiting the affordances of the discipline).

The articles in this special issue take very different approaches to the concept of teacher feedback literacy; they highlight the importance of recognising complexity and the likely existence of multiple teacher feedback literacies. Taken together, the articles shine light on the skills and capacities that comprise teacher feedback literacy, and provide insight into how teachers develop their understanding of effective feedback processes and how to support student learning through these activities. The articles also caution against simplistic notions of feedback literacy, and thus draw attention to the importance of wider contextual influences on teachers in this crucial area of academic work. In this way, then, the collective contributions of these articles align with the concepts of doing, being, becoming and belonging, as represented in the Occupational Perspective of Health framework (OPH; Wilcock 2002; Hitch, Pépin, and Stagnitti 2014). These four dimensions interact to influence engagement in professional activities (Ennals et al. 2016), and draw attention to the importance of roles and responsibilities, identity, as well as the influence of complex systems on these factors (e.g. Lopes and Calapez 2012). We now turn to a discussion of the articles in this special issue, organised loosely against the processes of doing, being, becoming and belonging.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02602938.2022.2107168
Uncontrolled keywords: student feedback, teaching
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Edd Pitt
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2023 13:14 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2023 09:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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Winstone, Naomi:
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