Is feedback to tutors the key to supporting quality in adult education?. A case study of a private training organisation in New Zealand

Published date01 July 2019
Date01 July 2019
AuthorEuan Wilson
Subject MatterEducation,Educational evaluation/assessment
Is feedback to tutors the key to
supporting quality in
adult education?
A case study of a private training organisation
in New Zealand
Euan Wilson
NZMA, Auckland, New Zealand
Purpose The purpose of this paperis to examine best practices in supporting tutors inacademic quality
within private trainingenterprises (PTEs) in New Zealand and to make practical recommendationsfor people
working in the tertiaryeducation sector.
Design/methodology/approach A hypothesis is proposed, which is then tested using a case study
examining what support from the quality assurancesection of a PTEs tutors perceive to be important.The
hypothesis is that additional feedback is required for tutors. The results are compared with those on the
literatureon quality assurance to see if there is consistency in themes.
Findings The primary themes that emergedfrom interview and survey data were that tutors withmore
than three years of experiencefeel they would benet from more regular, clear andconstructive feedback and
that thesetutors need support during any programme-relatedchanges.
Research limitations/implications This research highlightsthat the quality of feedback is crucial in
education and a worthwhile area of further investigation. Limitations include the size of the sample of
interviewees and that thestudy was based on only one organization in New Zealand. Future researchis also
suggested,which could include data from other tertiary educationalinstitutions.
Practical implications The paper concludes with a practical overview of dosand two donts
identiedfromthecasestudy.Theobjectiveistosharerecommendations in a practical and useable wa y with
other practitioners.
Social implications This account of an inquiry intointernal quality assurance processes and outcomes
offers transferable learningsto tutors, academic quality assurance teams, employersand other stakeholders
across the educationsector.
Originality/value The conclusiondrawn from this is case study is that educational organisationsshould
ensure that anyone tasked with providing feedback to tutors is rst coached themselves; otherwise, the
feedbackcan be unhelpful.
Keywords Quality culture, Quality management
Paper type Case study
The motivation for this research isthat tutors in PTEs generally come from industry, with
very little experienceof teaching or familiarity of educational quality assurance.Tutors also
have more contact with the primary stakeholders students than anyone else in a PTE.
Therefore, people workingwithin quality management in the sector have to look for ways to
Since the time of writing this article Euan Wilson regrettably died.
Received6 November 2017
Accepted21 May 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.27 No. 3, 2019
pp. 338-346
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-11-2017-0072
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