There has been little work on student engagement with feedback following summative assessment. In one study which considered feedback following written assessment, fewer than half the students took up an opportunity to view their feedback. In our study, we found that almost all students visited the website which we developed to provide feedback after a summative OSCE examination. However, although results from our study seem better at first glance, they are not reassuring; most students appeared to only superficially engage with the feedback as they typically spent only a very short time on each webpage.
Use of the feedback website was also not homogenous, with a wide range in the number of webpages viewed and in the number of times the website was visited. The students who had only just passed the OSCE were the least engaged. This was a novel finding, not previously described. The data obtained could not explain why this might be and the lack of similar findings in the literature meant there was a need to explore why students engaged in the way they did (or did not) with the feedback website.
The study also sought to explore links between students’ learning-related characteristics, such as goal orientation and motivation, and their use of feedback. Overall, no strong links were seen. This is perhaps surprising given the well-established links between learning-related characteristics and feedback when it is given in a context other than summative assessment.
It was not possible to establish from this quantitative study whether this was because the context was a summative rather than formative assessment, or because other factors were more important. The overall conclusion from this study was that it is not sufficient simply to provide feedback and expect students to make full use of the opportunities provided, but it was unable to provide a clear understanding of the factors influencing feedback use.
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