Scenario-Based Assessments (hereafter – SBA) are integral to educational assessment, allowing learners to demonstrate their understanding, critical thinking, and analytical skills. As educators strive to provide valuable feedback to learners, the question arises: Should exact answers be provided as feedback for SBA questions? While it may seem beneficial to offer precise solutions, doing so can undermine the learning process and hinder the development of essential skills. This policy statement outlines why providing exact answers in feedback to learners is not wise and suggests alternative approaches to promote growth and enhance learning outcomes.
Promotes Rote Learning and Inhibits Critical Thinking
When learners are handed the exact answers to SBA questions, it encourages rote memorisation and regurgitation of information. Instead of engaging in critical thinking and exploring different perspectives, students may focus solely on memorising specific responses without fully understanding the underlying concepts. This approach limits their ability to analyse complex issues, develop independent thought, and critically evaluate information—a skill set crucial for professional success.
Limits Learning from Mistakes
Feedback is a powerful tool for learning and improvement. Learners who receive precise answers to their SBA questions miss out on the valuable opportunity to learn from their mistakes and grow from constructive feedback. By providing only the correct response, educators neglect the chance to guide students through a process of self-reflection and self-correction. Learners are denied the chance to identify their weaknesses, misconceptions, and areas that require further development, hindering their progress in the long run.
Reduces Engagement and Ownership
Active engagement in the learning process is essential for deep understanding and retention of knowledge. Providing exact answers eliminates the need for learners to actively engage with the material, explore different sources, or develop their arguments. Consequently, they may lose motivation as their role shifts from active participants to passive recipients of information. The absence of personal ownership over their learning diminishes their investment and hampers their ability to develop critical skills necessary for lifelong learning.
Promotes Dependence and Undermines Autonomy
Education should strive to develop independent learners who seek and evaluate information independently. Educators inadvertently promote dependence on external sources and undermine learners’ autonomy by providing exact answers. Learners may come to rely solely on the guidance of others instead of developing their problem-solving and research skills. Independence and autonomy are crucial attributes that empower individuals to adapt to new challenges and contribute effectively.
Alternative Approaches for Effective Feedback
While providing exact answers is not advisable, there are alternative approaches that can foster effective feedback for SBA questions. Educators can focus on providing general guidance, highlighting areas of strength and weakness, and offering suggestions for improvement. Encouraging students to critically evaluate their own work can enhance learning outcomes, promote self-reflection, and nurture critical thinking skills.
In pursuing effective education, providing exact answers in feedback to SBA questions is an unwise policy. Such an approach inhibits critical thinking, limits learning from mistakes, reduces engagement, and undermines learners’ autonomy. By embracing alternative approaches that emphasise guidance, and self-reflection, educators can empower learners to develop essential skills and become active learners.