Lack of High-Quality, Frequent Feedback Contributes to Low Success Rates for Community College Students
Keywords:feedback, professional development, student success, teaching strategies
Most students who enter a community college never finish. In fact, “fewer than four of every ten complete any type of degree or certificate within six years” (Bailey et al., 2015). One reason for low success rates is the lack of high-quality, frequent feedback provided to students. Feedback has been shown to improve student learning and success. The purpose of this systematic literature review was to understand the root causes for the lack of productive, consistent feedback. To this end, traditional peer-reviewed research, public scholarship sources, and faculty perspectives were included in this literature review. One cause identified was the lack of comprehensive faculty training in pedagogy in general and in how to provide high-quality feedback specifically. Another reason was lack of time. Faculty who teach in community colleges typically have heavy teaching loads, along with service and other responsibilities that make it difficult to provide regular, high-quality feedback to students. Finally, many students have a negative perception of feedback and therefore, often ignore it. When students do not use feedback, faculty can determine that providing feedback is not a good use of their time. There is ample evidence in the literature that supporting faculty to provide high-quality feedback is effective for promoting students’ academic success.
Ackerman, D., & Gross, B. (2010). Instructor feedback: How much do students really want? Journal of Marketing Education, 32(2), 172–181. https://doi.org/10.1177/0273475309360159
Adelman, C. (2005). Moving into town—and moving on: The community college in the lives of traditional–age students. U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/comcollege/index.html
Adelman, C. (2006). The toolbox revisited: Paths to degree completion from high school through college. U.S. Department of Education. https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/toolboxrevisit/toolbox.pdf
Bailey, T., Jaggars, S. S., & Jenkins, D. (2015). Redesigning America’s community colleges: A clearer path to student success. Harvard University Press.
Baime, D., & Baum, S. (2016). Community colleges: Multiple missions, diverse student bodies, and a range of policy solutions. Urban Institute
Beach, A., Sorcinelli, M. D., Austin, A., & Rivard, J. (2016). Faculty development in the age of evidence. Stylus Publishing.
Bickerstaff, S., & Chavarín, O. (2018). Understanding the needs of part-time faculty at six community colleges. CCRC Research Brief. Community College Research Center. https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/media/k2/attachments/understanding-part-time-faculty-community-colleges.pdf
Brooks, C., Carroll, A., Gillies, R. M., & Hattie, J. (2019). A matrix of feedback for learning. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 44(4), https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2018v44n4.2
Carless, D. & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: Enabling uptake of feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1315–1325, https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1463354
Cohan, D. (2020). How to grade faster in 2020. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/02/11/advice-grading-more-efficiently-option
Community College Research Center. (2020). Community college FAQs. https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Community-College-FAQs.html
Complete College America. (n.d.) Data dashboard. https://completecollege.org/data-dashboard/
Cox, R. (2010). The college fear factor: How students and professors misunderstand one another. Harvard University Press.
Eddy, P. (2010). Community college leadership: A multidimensional model for leading (1st ed.) Stylus Publishing.
Fiock, H., & Garcia, H. (2019). How to give your students better feedback with technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20191108-Advice-Feedback
Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Hattie, J. (2018). Developing “assessment capable” learners: If we want students to take charge of their learning, we can’t keep relegating them to a passive role in the assessment process. Educational Leadership, 75(5), 46–51.
Gonzalez, J. (Host). (2018, January). Moving from feedback to feedforward (No.87) [Audio podcast episode]. Cult of Pedagogy. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/feedforward/
Hanushek, E., Peterson, P., Talpey, L., & Woessmann, L. (2016). The achievement gap fails to close. Education Next, 19(3), 8–17. https://www.educationnext.org/achievement-gap-fails-close-half-century-testing-shows-persistent-divide/
Harrington, C. (2020). Ensuring learning: Supporting faculty to improve student success. American Association of Community Colleges and Rowman and Littlefield.
Harrington, C. (2022). Keeping us engaged: Student perspectives (and research-based strategies) on what works and why. Stylus.
Hattie, J., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2016). Do they hear you? Educational Leadership, 73(7), 16–21.
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298487
Hattie, J., & Yates, G. (2014). Using feedback to promote learning. In V. A. Benassi, C.E. Overson, & C.M. Hakala (Eds.), Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum (pp. 45-58). Society for the Teaching of Psychology. http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php
Hounsell, D., McCune, V., Hounsell, J., & Litjens, J. (2008). The quality of guidance and feedback to students. Higher Education Research and Development, 27(1), 55–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360701658765
Jonsson, A. (2012). Facilitating productive use of feedback in higher education. Active Learning in Higher Education, 14(1), 63–76. sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787412467125
Levin, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. The Education Schools Project.
Lizzio, A. & Wilson, K. (2008). Feedback on assessment: Students’ perceptions of quality and effectiveness. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3), 263–275. https://doi.org/10.1080/026029307012
Mallett, R., Hagen-Zanker, J., Slater, R. & Duvendack, M. (2012). The benefits and challenges of using systematic reviews in international development research. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(3), 445–455, https://doi.org/ 10.1080/19439342.2012.711342
Martinez, E. (2019). The rules change: Exploring faculty experiences and work expectations within a drifting community college context. Community College Review, 47(2), 111–135. https://doi.org//10.1177/0091552119835022
Mellow, G. O., & Heelan, C. M. (2015). Minding the dream: The process and practice of the American community college (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.
Molloy, E., & Boud, D. (2013). Feedback in higher and professional education: Understanding it and doing it well. Routledge.
Morest, V. S. (2015). Faculty scholarship at community colleges: Culture, institutional structures, and socialization. New Directions for Community Colleges, 171, 21–36.
Mulliner, E., & Tucker, M. (2017). Feedback on feedback practice: Perceptions of students and academics. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(2), 266–288. https://doi.org//10.1080/02602938.2015.1103365
National Study of Postsecondary Faculty. (2005). 2004 national study of postsecondary faculty (NSOPF: 04): Report on faculty and instructional staff in fall 2003. National Center for Education Statistics. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005172.pdf
Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic reviews in the social sciences: A practical guide. Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470754887
Robinson, S., Pope, D. & Holyoak, L. (2013). Can we meet their expectations? Experiences and perceptions of feedback in first year undergraduate students. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(3), 260–272. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2011.629291
Sambell, K. (2016). Assessment and feedback in higher education: Considerable room for improvement? Student Engagement in Higher Education, 1(1), 1–14. http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2819
Sallee, M. W. (2008). Work and family balance: How community college faculty cope. New Directions for Community Colleges, 2008(142), 81–91. https://doi.org/10.1002/cc.327
Scott, G. (2005). Accessing the student voice. Department of Education, Science and Training.
Stern, L. & Solomon, A. (2006). Effective faculty feedback: The road less traveled. Assessing Writing, 11(2006), 22–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2005.12.001
Taras, M. (2006). Do unto others or not: Equity in feedback for undergraduates. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(3), 365–377.
Taylor, S. S. (2011). I really don’t know what he meant by that: How well do engineering students understand teachers’ comments on their writing? Technical Communication Quarterly, 20(2), 139–166. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2011.548762
Townsend, B. K., & Twombly, S. B. (2007). Community college faculty: Overlooked and undervalued. ASHE Higher Education Report, 32(6), 1–163.
Warner, J. (2017). The ‘administrative fiction’ of faculty workloads. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/administrative-fiction-faculty-workloads
Wiggins, G. (2012). Seven keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 10–16.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Amy Hankins, Christine Harrington
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.