Measuring what matters: the positioning of students in feedback processes within national student satisfaction surveys

Winstone, Naomi E., Ajjawi, Rola, Dirkx, Kirk and Boud, David ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Measuring what matters: the positioning of students in feedback processes within national student satisfaction surveys. Studies in Higher Education . ISSN 0307-5079 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1080/03075079.2021.1916909)

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The increasing prominence of neoliberal agendas in international higher education has led to greater weight being ascribed to student satisfaction, and the national surveys through which students evaluate courses of study. In this article, we focus on the evaluation of feedback processes. Rather than the transmission of information from teacher to student, greater recognition of the fundamental role of the learner in seeking, generating, and using feedback information is evident in recent international literature. Through an analysis of the framing of survey items from 10 national student satisfaction surveys, we seek to question what conceptions or models of feedback are conveyed through survey items, and how such framing might shape perceptions and practice. Primarily, the surveys promote an outdated view of feedback as information transmitted from teacher to student in a timely and specific manner, largely ignoring the role of the student in learning through feedback processes. Widespread and meaningful change in the ways in which feedback is represented in research, policy, and practice requires a critical review of the positioning of students in artefacts such as evaluation surveys. We conclude with recommendations for practice by proposing amended survey items that are more consistent with contemporary theoretical conceptions of feedback.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 34260
Notes on copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way
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Depositing User: Carol Costley
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2021 17:40
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2021 17:40

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