Improving the quality of written feedback using written feedback

MH Bartlett, J Crossley, Robert McKinley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Educational feedback is amongst the most powerful of all learning interventions.

    Research questions
    1. Can we measure the quality of written educational feedback with acceptable metrics?
    2. Based on such a measure, does a quality improvement (QI) intervention improve the quality of feedback?

    Study design
    We developed a QI instrument to measure the quality of written feedback and applied it to written feedback provided to medical students following workplace assessments. We evaluated the measurement characteristics of the QI score using generalisability theory. In an uncontrolled intervention, QI profiles were fed back to GP tutors and pre and post intervention scores compared.

    Study results
    A single assessor scoring 6 feedback summaries can discriminate between practices with a reliability of 0.82. The quality of feedback rose for two years after the introduction of the QI instrument and stabilised in the third year. The estimated annual cost to provide this feedback is £12 per practice.

    Interpretation and recommendations
    It is relatively straightforward and inexpensive to measure the quality of written feedback with good reliability. The QI process appears to improve the quality of written feedback. We recommend routine use of a QI process to improve the quality of educational feedback.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEducation for Primary Care
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


    • feedback
    • undergraduate medical education
    • educational assessment
    • quality improvement


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