Student perceptions of formative feedback : a cross-cultural analysis
Descriptive and detailed feedback from formative assessment tasks should help students evaluate their capabilities and chart their learning progress. University tutors 'transmit' feedback to students regarding what is right and wrong in their academic work and about their strengths and weaknesses which students can then use to improve subsequent assessment tasks (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). In culturally diverse university classrooms, the effectiveness of feedback may vary due to different attitudes and intercultural interpretations of comments. This conceptual paper proposes a model to assist university tutors and lecturers in understanding how students from different cultures interpret and react to different types of formative feedback. Types of feedback investigated include error-corrections, holistic feedback, as well as rankings and percentages without descriptive feedback. An exploratory conceptual framework is proposed to investigate whether each type of feedback leads to constructive or inhibitory student reactions. Future investigation of this framework will aid understanding of which types of feedback students perceive to have the most positive impact on their work. With cross-cultural similarities and differences in perceptions and subsequent reactions to feedback, this integrated model helps educators and researchers to understand how feedback may be received and utilised.