Good Practice in Assessment Feedback in Social Studies: Highlighting the Significance of Student-Teacher Relationships


Assessment feedback has consistently emerged as an area of concern to students completing the United Kingdom’s National Student Satisfaction Surveys (NSS). It is recognised as being an important element of the student learning experience and as such it remains a significant focus of enhancement activity. Using mixed research methods, the research reported in this article sought to identify student and academic staff perspectives as to what constitutes effective assessment feedback practice. The research was informed by subject level data from three English universities, with a particular focus on subjects related to social policy and social work. Whilst supportive of previous research reports (for example, Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick 2006, McDowell 2008, McDowell & Sambell 1999, Crook, Gross & Dymott 2006), findings from this project particularly highlight the central significance to students of the quality of their relationships with staff. Indeed, other generic factors that are often argued to impact on assessment feedback, such as timeliness and consistency, appear to be contingent on the quality of staff-student relationships.
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