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Correction ARTICLE

Front. Educ., 03 October 2018 |

Corrigendum: Transparency Isn't Spoon-Feeding: How a Transformative Approach to the Use of Explicit Assessment Criteria Can Support Student Self-Regulation

  • 1Department of Higher Education, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom
  • 2Southampton Education School, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 3Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre, Directorate for Student Achievement, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom

A corrigendum on
Transparency Isn't Spoon-Feeding: How a Transformative Approach to the Use of Explicit Assessment Criteria Can Support Student Self-Regulation

by Balloo, K., Evans, C., Hughes, A., Zhu, X., and Winstone, N. (2018). Front. Educ. 3:69. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2018.00069

In the original article, we use the phrase “criteria compliance” without citing Torrance (2007). Citations have now been added to the relevant sections and the updated paragraphs appear below.


If little care is taken when establishing clear assessment requirements, there is the potential for spoon-feeding. However, in this conceptual article we argue that transparency in assessment is essential to providing equality of opportunity and promoting students' self-regulatory capacity. We begin by showing how a research-informed inclusive pedagogy, the EAT Framework, can be used to improve assessment practices to ensure that the purposes, processes, and requirements of assessment are clear and explicit to students. The EAT Framework foregrounds how students' and teachers' conceptions of learning (i.e., whether one has a transactional or transformative conception of learning within a specific context) impact assessment practices. In this article, we highlight the importance of being explicit in promoting access to learning, and in referencing the EAT Framework, the importance of developing transformative rather than transactional approaches to being explicit. Firstly, we discuss how transparency in the assessment process could lead to “criteria compliance” (Torrance, 2007, p. 282) and learner instrumentalism if a transactional approach to transparency, involving high external regulation, is used. Importantly, we highlight how explicit assessment criteria can hinder learner autonomy if paired with an overreliance on criteria-focused ‘coaching' from teachers. We then address how ‘being explicit with assessment' does not constitute spoon-feeding when used to promote understanding of assessment practices, and the application of deeper approaches to learning as an integral component of an inclusive learning environment. We then provide evidence on how explicit assessment criteria allow students to self-assess as part of self-regulation, noting that explicit criteria may be more effective when drawing on a transformative approach to transparency, which acknowledges the importance of transparent and mutual student-teacher communications about assessment requirements. We conclude by providing recommendations to teachers and students about how explicit assessment criteria can be used to improve students' learning. Through an emphasis on transparency of process, clarity of roles, and explication of what constitutes quality within a specific discipline, underpinned by a transformative approach, students and teachers should be better equipped to self-manage their own learning and teaching.

Introduction, Paragraph 2

If little care is taken when establishing clear assessment requirements, there is the potential for “spoon-feeding,” yet the move toward transparency in assessment in higher education has largely been positively received (Carless, 2015), since explicit requirements are likely to facilitate fairness in marking practices by enhancing markers' abilities to be consistent in making accurate judgments of student work (Broadbent et al., 2018) and communicating reasons for a particular judgment (Sadler, 2005). Explicit assessment criteria can support students to consider what they are aiming for and how this can be achieved from the perspective of a marker (Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick, 2006), so their learning outcomes move beyond a purely cognitive product, to the development of metacognition (Frederiksen and Collins, 1989; Shephard, 2000; Swaffield, 2011) and assessment literacy (Price et al., 2012). In this article, we present a conceptual analysis of the value of explicit assessment criteria; we highlight the potential risk of spoon-feeding in promoting “criteria compliance” (Torrance, 2007, p. 282), and then we present approaches demonstrating that a careful use of transparency through explicit assessment criteria is crucial to promoting equality of opportunity and students' self-regulation.

At Risk of Spoon-Feeding? A Transactional Approach to Transparency in Assessment Practices, Paragraph 5

In the context of assessment, spoon-feeding may involve explicitly telling students what they need to do for an assignment, and how to meet the assessment criteria, without leaving it up to them to ascertain this for themselves. Addressing task criteria in the absence of understanding the domain being assessed has been termed by Torrance (2007) as “criteria compliance” (p. 282). Some students may use explicit criteria to focus on exactly what needs to be done to reach a desired level of achievement, rather than actually learning material fully (Panadero and Jonsson, 2013). Students' and teachers' conceptions of learning play a role in this; if teachers simply supply assessment requirements to students in a transactional manner, so they can passively “check boxes,” it is unlikely that students will engage with the criteria in a way that will develop their learning and self-regulation.

The authors apologize for this error and state that this does not change the conceptual analysis or conclusions presented in the article in any way.

The original article has been updated.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


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Keywords: assessment, feedback, criteria, higher education, inclusive curriculum, self-regulation, spoon-feeding, transparency

Citation: Balloo K, Evans C, Hughes A, Zhu X and Winstone N (2018) Corrigendum: Transparency Isn't Spoon-Feeding: How a Transformative Approach to the Use of Explicit Assessment Criteria Can Support Student Self-Regulation. Front. Educ. 3:85. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2018.00085

Received: 07 September 2018; Accepted: 11 September 2018;
Published: 03 October 2018.

Approved by: Frontiers in Education Editorial Office, Frontiers Media SA, Switzerland

Copyright © 2018 Balloo, Evans, Hughes, Zhu and Winstone. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Kieran Balloo,