Educators’ perceptions of responsibility-sharing in feedback processes

Naomi E. Winstone, Edd Pitt, Robert A. Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many policies and processes in higher education reinforce a conception of feedback as being
the transmission of information, thus placing primary responsibility on educators for delivering
this information ‘well’ whilst neglecting the essential responsibilities of learners. In this study
216 university educators described the responsibilities of students, and of educators
themselves, in the feedback process. We analysed their responses using both content analysis
and a novel linguistic analysis of the specific words used. The content analysis indicated a clear
influence of transmission-based models of feedback on educators’ views, with educators seen
as responsible primarily for providing comments, and students responsible primarily for
processing these comments. Linguistically, educators conveyed greater certainty, and were
more likely to use referents to power and positive emotion, when describing their own as
opposed to students’ responsibilities. These findings underscore the necessity of a cultural shift
toward responsibility-sharing in the context of feedback in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education on 15 Apr 2020, available online at:[10.1080/02602938.2020.1748569


  • feedback
  • higher education
  • language
  • responsibility-sharing
  • socio-constructivism

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