Students' perceptions of tutor feedback: a pilot study

Ingrid Tonni, Peter Fine, Albert Leung, Chris Louca, Corrado Paganelli

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Background: Feedback offered to dental students by their tutors should aim to elicit ongoing learning and motivation. Previous studies looked at the impact on learning of feedback delivered by tutors from tutors' perspectives. However, what students know about feedback and its purposes and how they experience them during their study effect the impact of feedback on learning. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the proprieties of tutor feedback and its impact on future learning from the students' perspective.

Methods: A short questionnaire based cross sectional survey was designed and delivered electronically to 135 undergraduate and postgraduate students at Brescia Dental School, Italy. The questionnaire consisted of 16 questions which were divided into 3 sections. Quantitative data were collected via Google Forms, the analysis of the data was undertaken using SPSS software, Version 24.

Results: Sixty-one students (45.2%) responded to the questionnaire. Forty-one of respondents (67.2%) were undergraduate students and 20 (32.8%) were postgraduate students. The vast majority of students indicated that they received feedback, thirty (49.2%) indicated that it was delivered by tutors and eight (13.1%) by fellow students. Further, students reported that feedback was timely, delivered within two weeks of assessments and that constructive criticism was the favoured feedback style (n=52, 85.2%). Most students felt that the feedback they received helped with ongoing learning (n=54, 88.5%).

Conclusions: Most of the respondents considered that feedback received at Brescia Dental school did have a positive impact on their learning. This is of course what tutors hope would be the case but nevertheless it is gratifying to receive this endorsement from the respondent students. A more comprehensive study involving multiple dental schools in different learning environments will now be undertaken, including the collection of qualitative data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalMinerva Dental and Oral Science
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • feedback
  • education
  • learning
  • outcome and process assessment
  • health care


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