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Examining principles of formative and summative feedback

Heron, Gavin (2011) Examining principles of formative and summative feedback. British Journal of Social Work, 42 (2). pp. 276-295. ISSN 0045-3102

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The assessment and feedback practices in social work qualifying courses have to include academic rigour and practice relevance. This study explored the way principles of feedback were evident in the formative and summative feedback given to social work students in relation to a case study that was submitted as part of a portfolio. The findings show that some variation exists in the way principles are evidenced, which suggests some tutors are more able to give feedback in relation to certain aspects of the case study. Differences also existed in the alignment of formative and summative feedback and the extent to which it focused on the tasks specific to the assignment. Establishing first and second order principles could help to conceptualise a more dynamic form of feedback and provide better alignment between formative and summative assignments. This might engage and empower students as more effective learners and provide greater consistency in tutor feedback.