Reimagining feedback: developing a profile of learners' agentic resources to improve feedback and promote greater agency.

Year: 2021

Author: Levitt, Jennifer

Type of paper: Poster

When Hattie (2009) identified the effect size of feedback as being twice that of various other influences on student outcomes, he might well have predicted that administrators would urge teachers to give more feedback. Yet, Hattie (2009) did warn that not all feedback is powerful and for over a decade, researchers have sought to identify the real power of feedback. This paper seeks to align learners' agentic resources with feedback information not to reshape the students’ work but to reshape the students’ approach to their work. The research focus on student agency stems largely from reforms in education policy that seek to promote 21stcentury learner qualities (Lamb, Doecke & Maire, 2017). When feedback is reimagined as inherent to supporting learner agency learners' capacity to adapt and progress in an increasingly uncertain future may grow. This paper presents findings from a qualitative investigation of teachers and students in three independent schools in Brisbane, Queensland. Students from Year 10 English classes completed a survey in which their agentic resources including motivation, self-regulation, and self-efficacy were reported. These surveys provided a profile of the learner’s agentic resources. In semi-structured interviews teachers and selected students responded to a range of questions about their perceptions of feedback and the role of agentic resources in engaging with feedback. The interviews elicited contrasting responses from students and teachers. Results indicate that students see feedback as something to ‘fix’ their work for improved grades. Some highly motivated yet low-self-efficacious students attest to seeking feedback at a sentence-bysentence level and are dependent on their teacher' as the external locus of control. In contrast, some students with low self-efficacy made choices to actively avoid feedback. These findings indicate the need for educators to activate a shift in the thinking about feedback within their classes. Student agency can be fostered through feedback practices that promote activation of internal resources such as motivation, self-regulation, and self-efficacy. To reimagine feedback in the Secondary English class, this study positions the Student-Centred Feedback Model (SCFM) developed by Brooks et al. (2021) as a core component for promoting learners' agentic resources. People with developed agentic resources have the capacity to “generate a wider array of options that expand their freedom of action” (Bandura, 2008, p.36). Thus, our imperative as educators is to promote learners’ perceptions of feedback and support our students to become successful agents with the capacity to realise their own desired outcomes.