Designing Feedback Spirals To Motivate And Promote Student Learning.


  • Gabriella Cagliesi University of Sussex
  • Liudmila University of Sussex
  • Ana University of Sussex



grading criteria, iterative feedback, feedforward guidance




Designing Feedback Spirals To Motivate And Promote Student Learning.

Liudmila Batishcheva, Gabriella Cagliesi, Ana Sanmartín, University of Sussex, Department of Economics


In this study, the terms "iterative feedback" or "feedback spiral" are used interchangeably to stress the importance of dialogical tutor-student interactions in enhancing learning and moving to a higher level. Embracing this view, we present the results of a pilot initiative launched at the University of Sussex to a core undergraduate module in economics to improve students' engagement, motivation, and learning. The scheme, an iterative feedback process, was designed to help students with a piece of coursework by providing detailed grading criteria, setting expectations on quality of performance, and eliciting their views on the effectiveness of the iterative feedback process. The detailed information and the class discussion and dialogue around the task helped the students prepare the assessment, providing clear feedforward guidance upon which the final feedback on the summative piece was based.

We use Beta regression models, quantitative data on students' summative assessments, data analytics on their use of resources, and qualitative data on their experience of the grading criteria and feedforward to investigate how the pilot iterative feedback scheme may have affected students' performance. Our findings suggest that a more frequent engagement with Canvas during the weeks closer to the assessment dates positively impacts their performances, while attendance below the median has a detrimental effect on grades. Moreover, students who reported more detailed feedback on their use of grading criteria and feedforward guidance tended to gain higher scores and perform better in all assessments. In addition, the use of grading criteria helped particularly those students with specific reasonable adjustment requests linked to anxieties and mental health reasons compared to students without or with different learning disabilities.

Author Biographies

Liudmila, University of Sussex

Liudmila Batishcheva is a PhD student in Economics at the University of Sussex . She was a teaching tutor of various modules at the University of Sussex. She holds a Master degree in International Economics and Finance as well as in Financial Risk and Investment Analysis.

Ana, University of Sussex

Ana Sanmartín is a lecturer at the Universidad de las Americas in Ecuador. She was a teaching tutor for undergraduate modules at the University of Sussex. She holds a Master degree in Development Economics and received the Chevening Scholarship to pursue her postgraduate studies in 2019.


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Original Research