Feedback and Student Success
The question at the heart of many pedagogical approaches is: what can teachers do to improve student success? More often than not, one component of the answer to this question is feedback. In his 2012 study, Vincent Tinto identifies the following “attributes of effective classrooms:” expectations, support, assessment and feedback, and involvement. Interactions between students and faculty are also closely linked with student success, and regular feedback is one way to increase frequent interactions. Information on their current progress allows students to adjust their behavior to improve weak spots and to identify their strengths. Frequent assessment and feedback similarly allows instructors to know what students need help with and what existing methods are working well.
Professional schools are, by nature, focused on developing skills and preparing students for a specific work environment. This environment naturally fosters regular feedback. Because health science programs are generally professional schools, this means that feedback often plays an important role in health science education. This feedback can be incredibly helpful, but the way that it is delivered and understood is vital for optimum success.
Students entering a professional school may notice an increase in the amount of feedback they are receiving, which can make them uncomfortable. For example, there is often a gap in dental schools between student and faculty expectations in regards to feedback. In this study, researchers implemented a student feedback workshop to help students understand the reasoning for feedback and increase their receptiveness. The resulting data reflected student satisfaction with the activity as a part of their orientation, and this reaction was positive. Jack Ende provides a helpful framework for how feedback practices from business, psychology, and education can be understood and implemented in clinical medicine education.
An important consideration when incorporating feedback and evaluation into the classroom is choosing a variety of kinds of feedback for a variety of benefits. Feedback and evaluation can be between faculty and students, students and their peers, or students and themselves. All three have unique benefits and limitations, and all are important as students enter the workforce as well. Learning more about how to implement feedback and evaluation effectively and consciously incorporating them into your classes and curriculum can have a significant impact on student success, whether it be academic, skill-based, or in regards to their confidence in their skills.