Key factors of personal formative feedback workload: A case study in an accounting online environment (BAFA Accounting Education SIG Annual Conference 2013)

Language: English

Plana, D.; Moya, S.; Simo, P. (2013). Key factors of personal formative feedback workload: A case study in an accounting online environment. "BAFA Accounting Education SIG Annual Conference 2013". London (United Kingdom). http://elearn.mdx.ac.uk/BAFAAESIG2013/index.htm


It is generally accepted that assessment is a fundamental part of the students learning experience. However, the relationship between assessment and learning is often problematic One of the reasons (between others) for this difficult relationship is the lack of understanding of the true meaning of formative feedback. Formative feedback is that assessment that turns into a real support for students’ learning processes. In this sense, a learning model based on continuous assessment, allows to perform an effective formative feedback which enhances students’ progress. 

There are quite a number of papers investigating the impact of assessment on students’ learning experiences. However, there is scarce literature devoted to the study of what attitudes or experiences of professors can contribute to the provision of a formative feedback that allows the improvement of students’ learning. 

The objective of this paper is to address this gap trying to identify key factors that show a significant influence in the time spent by high education professors when performing personal formative feedback for accounting students in an online environment. Those key factors will be related to personal features of professors and their attitudes toward formative feedback, together with the characteristics of the virtual room they work in, with the technology used to perform feedback and with the subject of the course. This study will be developed considering the characteristics of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). 

Once the second semester of the academic year 2012-2013 has started, an online survey will be sent to all professors of the accounting area in the Business Undergraduate of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) which is the first online University in Spain by number of students. This survey will ask professors for personal and professional information like gender, age, professional career, communication and information technologies’ skills, prior feedback experiences and communicative skills. Additionally, some qualitative questions will also be provided to professors to collect some input about their attitude towards feedback. 

Data will be completed with (1) virtual room characteristics like number of students per room or number of students repeating the course, and subject features like core versus elective courses or type of knowledge promoted, (2) number of hours spent per professor in the formative feedback for each of the continuous assessment activities that are required to students, (3) technological means: video versus written feedback, (4) changes observed in assessing methodologies of professors when personal feedback is performed. 

Methodology will be mainly qualitative with the objective of running regression analysis, complemented with semi-structured interviews to a small number of professors in order to deepen in some of the aspects studied. Results obtained are expected to provide insight into the effectiveness of formative feedback and, therefore, contribute to the improvement of the relationship between learning and assessment.

Keywords: workload, formative feedback, effective feedback, higher education, student learning.

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