Ollin, Ros (2009) The use of formative feedback in developing critical reflection in professional practice. In: 2nd Assessment in Higher Education Conference, 8th July 2009, University of Cumbria, UK. (Unpublished)

This session will focus on the place of formative assessment and feedback in developing critical reflection in professional practice.

Many professional programmes offered in HE– for example those related to teaching, health services, social work and management - are underpinned by notions of reflective practice. However, reflection can often be introspective, involved in uncovering one’s own personal meanings, or evaluative, focusing on fairly superficial improvements in practice. In contrast, critical reflection includes consideration of the wider socio-political context to question one’s own values, beliefs and assumptions (Sambrook and Stewart, 2008). Within a professional context, critical reflection is used to challenge deep-rooted assumptions with the aim of improving professional practice (Fook and Askeland, 2007).

Many professional courses use learner- centred reflective processes, such as reflective journals. However it is a mistake to assume that even mature students have developed the capacity to reflect (Sambrook and Stewart, 2008). Here the teacher is important in modelling their own processes of critical reflection to students (Brookfield, 1995). In addition, the teacher can help challenge taken-for- granted assumptions and deepen the students’ capacity for reflection through critical dialogue. So what part can formative assessment play in that development?

In Certificate /PGCE courses for the Lifelong Learning sector, trainee teachers receive formative feedback following observed teaching, in which the focus is on asking questions to promote critical reflection, rather than providing answers. I will give examples of the questions used and share an example of student responses to the questions asked.
NB These questions are intended to be developmental and help the student engage critically with their own practice, but would only be used once a relationship of trust and respect had been built up with the student. They are intended to promote critical dialogue between tutor and student.

This approach could be used across a range of different professional programmes, not only in observations of practice, e.g. clinical encounters, but in formative feedback on written work.

This session will provide an opportunity for participants to share their own ideas and assessment practices for developing critical reflection in students.


Download (45kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email