Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Spanning the grade boundaries: The impact of formative feedback on summative outcomes in a distance learning PGCE course

Hidson, Elizabeth and Elliott, Ian (2019) Spanning the grade boundaries: The impact of formative feedback on summative outcomes in a distance learning PGCE course. In: First Annual Faculty of Education and Society Research Institute Staff Research Conference, 04 June 2019, Sunderland, UK.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Distance learning programmes force us to reconceptualise the boundaries of time, place and process that structure traditional face-to-face forms of learning in higher education. We know that distance learning works and that assessment of student work is central to this process (Gikandi, Morrow and Davis, 2011). Online educators bring with them a collection of interrelated competencies to support distance learners’ academic achievements (Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek, 2015), which can be evidenced in multiple ways in a professional learning context. While we know that formative and summative assessment share iterative and related diagnostic functions (Wiliam and Black, 1996), feedback as a key process supporting this is known to be differentially effective (Hattie and Timperley, 2007). To fully understand the potential of online formative feedback we must therefore investigate how feedback works in the online learning process. This paper explores statistical analyses of formative and summative assessment data from three cohorts of trainee teachers (n=1104) undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. It identifies the relationship between the grade achieved at the formative stage of an assignment and the grade achieved at the summative stage of the same assignment: in other words, the impact of formative feedback on summative outcomes. To contextualise the findings, patterns and themes in the data are highlighted to identify the use of a continuum of different levels of targeted feedback, ranging from feedback-as-elaboration to feedback-for-challenge, in line with Hattie and Timperley’s (2007) feedback questions.

PDF (FES 2019 Research conference presentation)
IDL Team Research for FES Research Conference 2019.pdf - Presentation

Download (1MB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: Elizabeth Hidson


Item ID: 11314
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Elizabeth Hidson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 14:17
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:04


Author: Elizabeth Hidson ORCID iD
Author: Ian Elliott

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Higher Education

Actions (login required)

View Item (Repository Staff Only) View Item (Repository Staff Only)