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Feedforward practices: a systematic review of the literature

Sadler, I. and Reimann, N. and Sambell, K. (2023) 'Feedforward practices: a systematic review of the literature.', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 48 (3). pp. 305-320.


The notion of ‘feedforward’ has emerged as popular with practitioners, and there has been an upsurge in publications which include this term. This interpretivist and conceptual systematic review sought to consider the different forms of educational practices that are framed in relation to feedforward. The initial search of four electronic databases found 1076 articles published between 2007 and 2019, which were reduced to 68 once duplicates had been removed and exclusion/inclusion criteria applied during screening and eligibility procedures. An iterative meta-ethnographic approach to analysis resulted in the identification of five main practices, framed as feedforward. These were: alignment and timing (41%); use (25%); comments (18%); self-review (9%); and teaching (7%). The vast majority involved a process where student improvement was a key goal, but the design of this process differed between practices. A large proportion supported improvement from one task to the next, almost exclusively within the ‘future horizon’ of the module/study unit, while only a small proportion of articles focuses on improving the amount, nature or quality of the information delivered to learners. Evidence of student sense-making and uptake was rarely sought, and few practices offered genuine opportunities for student agency, self-regulation and the development of evaluative judgment.

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Publisher statement:© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:13 April 2022
Date deposited:19 May 2022
Date of first online publication:09 May 2022
Date first made open access:19 May 2022

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