Authentic feedback: supporting learners to engage in disciplinary feedback practices

Journal Club Article: Dawson, P., Carless, D., & Lee, P. P. W. (2020). Authentic feedback: supporting learners to engage in disciplinary feedback practicesAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-11.

Background on Feedback Literacy

Questions how learners can be supported to productively engage in the kinds of feedback practices they may encounter after they graduate. Introduces a novel concept of authentic feedback to denote processes which resemble the feedback practices of the discipline, profession or workplace.

“Workplace feedback may include a range of processes, for example, 360-degree feedback, reviews and action plans focussed firmly on improvement, and in less productive environments, perfunctory annual performance reviews which do little for morale or development.”

Drawing on the notion of authentic assessment, Suggest a framework for authentic feedback with five dimensions:

  1. Realism: Authentic feedback also realistically represents the social contexts in which feedback in the discipline takes place.
  2. Cognitive challenge: Problem-solving and decision-making are cognitively challenging features of feedback in professional work.
  3. Affective challenge: need opportunities to practice making productive use of their emotions.
  4. Evaluative judgement: students also need to develop understandings of criteria for good performance in professional practice.
  5. Enactment of feedback: “The enactment of feedback dimension includes both the informal processes used by professionals to make sense of feedback, as well as the more formal products of feedback enactment. The processes of enactment may need to be explicitly taught.

Goal of authentic feedback is to promote the development of capabilities that transfer effectively from university to the world of work. Authenticity is a significant feature of feedback designs.

Conclusion

“Given that the design of authentic feedback requires an understanding of workplace feedback practices, future research could take a practice theory approach in studying feedback in professional and disciplinary work contexts.

Keywords: Authentic assessment; authentic feedback; feedback literacy.