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What's in a word? Practices associated with 'feedforward' in higher education

Reimann, A.; Sadler, I.; Sambell, K.

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I. Sadler

K. Sambell


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 13, 2019
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 13, 2020
Journal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Print ISSN 0260-2938
Electronic ISSN 1469-297X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 8
Pages 1279-1290
Public URL


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