Background: Timely and meaningful feedback is essential to promote active learning and student engagement with learning. However, achieving this remains elusive, particularly in undergraduate nursing programs that admit large student cohorts. One strategy to provide meaningful en masse feedback is to provide feed-forward support by using exemplars. To date, there has been limited evaluation of the effectiveness of this feedback strategy.
Objective: To review the impact of using exemplars as a feedback strategy to support student academic writing in higher education.
Data Sources and Review Method: A systematic search of electronic databases for original research papers published between 2000 and 2017 that used exemplars to support student's academic writing in higher education. An integrative review methodology was utilised to identify emerging themes.
Results: Ten papers met the inclusion criteria, revealing four themes; 1) exemplars as a tool for structuring and preparing assessment activities, 2) appraising exemplars provided as a teaching and learning activity, 3) the impact of exemplar use on academic performance, and 4) students' satisfaction of exemplars as a learning tool.
Conclusion: Despite the diverse approaches in the use of exemplars, this review highlighted that students value exemplars as a teaching tool. However, the benefits of exemplar use were not always reflected in students' academic performance. Further research is required, particularly in a nursing context, to understand the impact of exemplars on student learning.
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