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Abstract

There is a growing interest in developing the capabilities of learners to evaluate and improve their own work, as well as that of others (Boud & Falchikov, 2006; Oliver, 2011). At ECU our new undergraduate curriculum framework titled Curriculum 2012: Enabling the learning journey promotes the active engagement of students in assessment for learning. In order to successfully direct their own learning beyond university, students need to be able to identify the standard of performance to which they should aspire as a result of that learning, accurately locate where they are in relation to the standard, and then develop pathways to bridge the gap. Feedback is a mechanism that is designed to support that process. Feedback that does not suggest ways to improve and does not result in change is merely, as Sadler (1989, p. 121) so aptly describes it “dangling data”. In this paper the authors define feedback as a loop, meaning that feedback can only be said to have occurred when there is some identifiable influence on the recipient of the feedback (Boud & Molloy, 2012). If feedback results in improved performance we can say that learning has occurred. This paper describes how peer feedback was embedded in curriculum design in a third year social studies unit. Pre and post surveys of students reveal their response to the requirement that they actively engage in evaluation and feedback and suggest how academic work can be used to develop students’ capacity to direct their own learning in their lives and careers after graduation.

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