My work is bleeding

‘My work is bleeding’:
Exploring the first year
experience of feedback
Sam Shields
First year Humanities
and Social Science
students’ perceptions of
Widening participation
and retention
Assessment ‘history’
Learner identity
A sign of ‘belonging’
Formative assessment
Student engagement with feedback
Widening Participation
First-year experience
Barker & Pinard (2014)
Lizzio & Wilson (2013)
Walker & Hobson (2014)
Research methodology
Narrative Inquiry
-Developmental trajectories
-Learner transition
-Generate understanding about particular learner experiences (Cousin,
Interviews, writing stories, stimuli e.g. feedback sheets
What participants say, but also how they say it…
Contrastive rhetoric
Key findings:
They are writing all over my work and it is like
mangled up and most of the lecturers use red
pen and I don’t know it kind of gets to me if I
open it up and it’s covered in red crosses and
marks and it’s horrible. It’s like my work is
bleeding. (Josie, interview)
Affective dimension
A difference between positive and
constructive feedback
Positive feedback offered confirmation
of ‘belonging’
‘Stuck’ places for students that did not
receive ‘positive’ feedback
Liminality – betwixt and between
Turner (1969), van Gennep (1960)
Rite of passage
Unstable, unclear about status
Structural invisibility
Threshold concept
Meyer & Land (2005)
Lecturer as a ‘significant other’
Implications for policy and
A focus on formative
feedback in the first year
(low-stakes assignments)
Positive feedback
Resources to support
timeliness (reduce the
anxiety of waiting for
Areas for further research?
 Larger
data sets e.g. students at different
institutions, different disciplines
 A comparison of ‘stuck’ and ‘enabled’
 Retention and progress analysis
 Lecturers’ perspectives on the impact of
first year feedback
Getting published in learning and
Assessment journals e.g. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher
Education, Assessment: Policy, Principles and Practice
Subject specific journals e.g. Politics
Higher Education Academy journals e.g. Bioscience Education
Generic teaching and learning journals e.g. Studies in Higher
Education, Teaching in Higher Education
Barker, M. & Pinard, M. (2014) Closing the feedback loop? Iterative feedback
between tutor and student in coursework assessments, Assessment & Evaluation in
Higher Education, 39:8, 899-915,
Cousin, G. (2009) Researching learning in higher education: an introduction to
contemporary methods and approaches, London: Routledge
Lizzio, A. & Wilson, K. (2013) First-year students’ appraisal of assessment tasks:
implications for efficacy, engagement and performance, Assessment & Evaluation
in Higher Education, 38:4, 389-406
Meyer, J.H.F. and Land, R. (2005) Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge
(2): epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and
learning, Higher Education, 49:3, 373-388
Turner, V. (1969) The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure,
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
van Gennep, A. (1960) The Rites of Passage, London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul
Walker, S. & Hobson, J. (2014) Interventions in teaching first-year law:
feeding forward to improve learning outcomes, Assessment & Evaluation
in Higher Education, 39:3, 326-338

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