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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Reimann, A., Sadler, I. & Sambell, K. (2019). What's in a word? Practices associated with 'feedforward' in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 44(8): 1279-1290.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The term ‘feedforward’ is increasingly employed in higher education, and this paper focuses on the way in which it fits into contemporary debates about feedback and its impact on practitioners. Semi-structured interviews were used to investigate the practices academics associate with feedforward and the ways in which their intentions and understandings varied. The term resulted in practices being framed as a process and prompted academics to consider the points in the future when students were expected to deploy information and improve. Three future horizons were identified: the ‘within-module’ future horizon dominated, while the challenges of ‘beyond-module’ and ‘beyond-programme’ horizons became apparent. Written comments, guidance, formative assessment and design practices were associated with feedforward, comprising both transmission and student-focused approaches. It is concluded that the modular system restricts longer-term future horizons and sustainable practices, and more must be done to address the divide between theoretical and practitioners’ perspectives.

School of Education