Feedback can have substantial influence on learning and development if students are – or are supported to become – ‘feedback literate’. Student feedback literacy development, however, is not a homogenous process occurring in a vacuum, as feedback is a socio-cultural practice that involves different individuals (students, staff, peers), their experiences (previous, present and ongoing), and the diverse academic contexts in which it takes place.
Presently, higher education contexts reflect a highly diverse body; transitioning international students and UK-based educators are likely to be familiar with different feedback cultures and context-specific feedback practices. Consequently, international students are often asked to develop a ‘new’ feedback literacy that is ‘aligned’ to that of educators. Two questions then arise: (1) is academics’ feedback literacy to which students are asked to ‘align to’ homogenous across the staff body? (2) How can educators support international students’ development of feedback literacy avoiding assimilationist approaches?
Student perspectives on this were captured as part of a larger longitudinal narrative inquiry into international postgraduate taught students’ experiences with assessment and feedback, framed by theories of intercultural competence. Student narratives seem to suggest that academics’ feedback literacy is not homogenous: the way in which educators conceptualise and operationalise feedback varies, as do the approaches they take to foster and scaffold student feedback literacy development. Student stories seem to point out that teachers’ academic backgrounds, A&F histories, values, and beliefs play a significant role in this. Further, educators’ intercultural competence within contexts of assessment and feedback seem to impact on the approaches they take to support student development of ‘intercultural’ feedback literacy.
Overall, student narratives highlight the importance of fostering effective communication between students and staff. This presentation will explore how development of intercultural competence within contexts of assessment and feedback might support a culturally sensitive and aware co-development of feedback literacy.