Learners' voices on assessment feedback : case studies based at a KwaZulu-Natal school.
The introduction of an Outcomes Based approach to education in South Africa has drawn attention to the nature of assessment. This research study investigated learners' perceptions of educator feedback and aimed at investigating and understanding: learners' meanings of educator feedback, forms of feedback that learners consider effective, and why do they consider these feedback forms as effective? In this case study, journal writing and group interviewing were used as data collection instruments. The five participants were Grade: 9 learners from a secondary school in Phoenix, Durban. The participants engaged in seven units of journal entries each. Having read these journal entries, these five learners comprised the group that was interviewed. The group interviewing provided depth in the five case studies. The findings of this study revealed that learners have significant perceptions of 'educator feedback'. Their definitions of feedback conveyed a broader concept of educator feedback than I had expected. Through their definitions of feedback, learners' outlined their expectations of educator feedback. Learners also disclosed their preferences for some forms of feedback over others. Furthermore, they provided reasons for valuing certain forms of feedback. Their views on the significance of feedback related mostly to: enhancement of learning; correction of errors and avoiding the same errors in subsequent tasks Moreover, learners divulged their positive and negative experiences of educator feedback. Learners' positive experiences of feedback resulted from feedback that promoted learning through remediation of errors and feedback that was motivating. Learners' negative experiences were linked to forms of feedback that they considered as inadequate. These forms of feedback were as inadequate in that learners did not understand where they had gone wrong or why they were wrong. Feedback that had a negative effect on their emotions caused them embarrassment. Forms of feedback that encouraged competition were not valued. Learners raised concerns over the language of feedback (verbal and written) and also the use of red ink in written feedback. A further matter raised was that feedback should relate directly to the mathematics, rather than being personal.