Research Output

Public feedback - but personal feedforward?

  Academic feedback is taken here as the reporting to student writers of the strengths and weaknesses of their submitted draft work, while academic feedforward refers to constructive advice regarding possible strengthening of students’ next work. Both originate from a tutor’s initial judgement of a student’s work. Feedback and feedforward on work showing need for improvement are problematic in a Confucian Heritage Culture. Even gently constructive advice within a programme seeking evidence for assessment of critical thinking may lead to perception of hurtful criticism by Taiwanese students. Some could withdraw from class activity accordingly. So the writers adjusted their response style. They now choose between different approaches featuring tutorial feedback or feedforward, depending on the standard of work being judged. When individual postings feature poor critical thinking, the writers opt for private messages concentrating on constructive feedforward. For better postings, they provide positive feedback with reasons for their judgements, and summarise to the class these exemplars of generic strengths in critical thinking. They also offer private prompting when they see scope for further enrichment of an able student’s critical thinking. This might also be a useful practice when tutoring solely in the West. (192 words)

Keywords: Confucian Heritage Culture, public feedback, private feedforward, assessment

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2011

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education


Cowan, J. & Chiu, Y. J. (2011). Public feedback - but personal feedforward?. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. 4. ISSN 1759-667X



Confucian Heritage Culture; feedback; feedforward; strengths; weaknesses; public; private

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