Exploring Written Assessment Feedback in a University-level Spanish Program in three parts

  • Project dates: 2015

This project has three distinct parts. They are as follows:

Part One

Equal or Different: Advancing Written Feedback Practice Through a Teacher-Researcher Collaboration in a University Spanish Program

This chapter reports on a collaborative dialogue (Scarino, 2016) between a language assessment researcher and an expert language teacher with the aim of exploring how theory and practice might inform each other. Following the Hill (2017) framework, the study started with the following questions: What does the teacher do? What does she look for?  What theories, understandings or beliefs inform her feedback practices? What are learners’ understandings of feedback? How does the teaching context influence the nature and content of feedback? Participants comprised 15 students from beginner (CEFR A1), intermediate (CEFR B1), and advanced (CEFR C) levels of a university-level Spanish program. Data comprised copies of written feedback, recordings and transcription of unstructured think-aloud protocols , and semi-structured interviews, and reflective journals. Data was analysed using thematic content analysis. Discussion focused on the ways in which the collaboration served to advance both theory and practice as well as highlight issues warranting further research.

Part Two

Contextual Variables in Written Assessment Feedback in a University-level Spanish program

The study investigated two research questions in the context of a university-level Spanishcourse:1. How does the teaching context influence the nature and focus of the feedback provided to students, and. How does the teaching context influence learner responses to feedback?Participants comprised a language assessment researcher, an ‘expert’ Spanish as a foreign language lecturer and 15 students from beginner (CEFR A1), intermediate (CEFR B1), and advanced (CEFR C) levels in a university-level Spanish program. Data comprised writtenfeedback on final writing tasks for each of the three levels collected over a 12 week semesteras well as recordings and transcripts of discussions between teacher and researcher regarding feedback decisions. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis. Following Turnerand Purpura (2015) in addition to the task, relevant contextual variables include: student attributes (specifically semester/proficiency level, their interests and preferences) and institutional constraints i.e. assessment policies.The collaboration facilitated both critical reflection on the ways in which contextual variables impacted written assessment feedback type and focus as well as advancing the teacher’swritten feedback practice.

Part Three

Developing Student Educational  Feedback Literacy Using Technology and the Reflective Feedback Conversation

This paper describes an intervention which used the ‘reflective feedback conversation’ (Cantillon & Sargeant, 2008) and educational technology to encourage learners to take a more active role in the feedback process. The ‘reflective feedback conversation’, first proposed for use in clinical education, involves asking students to identify two to three specific areas they would like feedback to focus on and to evaluate their own performance in these areas. The teacher then provides her own evaluation and asks the student to reflect on specific ways to improve. The teacher then elaborates the student’s response and checks understanding.

Participants were 50 students enrolled in Level 3 (pre-intermediate) of a university-level Spanish program. Data included student questionnaires, teacher and student interviews (n=5) and documentation of feedback. Questionnaire data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while interview and documentation data were analysed using thematic content analysis.

The study has implications for promoting uptake of feedback, student agency and self-regulation, alignment of teacher and student goals and expectations and sustainable feedback practices.

Key People

Researcher

Dr Ana Maria Ducasse

Dr Ana Maria Ducasse

Senior Lecturer

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External Investigators

  • Dr Kathryn Hill (La Trobe University)

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