Feedback: Just State It

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Mar 12, 2020

In a recent post, I discussed how candidates can cement their knowledge of recent tasks and cases with active reflection. In the same way we encourage candidates to engage in active reflection in their responses, did you know that your CPA PEP educators and administrators use candidate feedback in their own active reflection to improve?

Hearing directly from our learners informs many decisions. Quantitative data is crunched, qualitative comments categorized, and both are used to provide enhancements to keep CPA professional education competitive. In this post, I highlight how the feedback is used and how you can use active reflection to amplify the value of your feedback.

Survey feedback

When developing experienced facilitator workshops, I use candidate survey feedback to shape activities that require more insight for the facilitators. We’ve previously covered how CPA Canada uses learner feedback to update course and module material.

Feedback amplified

When providing feedback, follow the WHAT and WHY approach of active reflection: advise WHAT the item of concern or praise is, and follow up with WHY it is a factor to discuss.

Be specific

When I coach candidates for case writing, I often use the phrase, “state, don’t imply your thoughts. Your exam evaluator cannot give you credit for what you do not state, and neither can I.” That statement holds equally true for feedback: be explicit.

For example, a candidate may write “great facilitator” (the WHAT) but does not include WHY they are a great facilitator. While this feedback is lovely to hear, it fails to detail what the candidate thought made the facilitator strong. Using the WHAT + WHY formula ensures facilitators can learn from past instances and improve going forward. 

In addition to secretly loving corny accounting jokes, you may be a CPA PEP candidate or educator when you find yourself utilizing tools these tools in other aspects of your life. If you haven’t already, you may soon find yourself discussing non-CPA PEP topics with the WHAT + WHY strategy, to make sure you attain depth in your discussion such that your audience resonates with your messaging.

Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum.

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB, and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education.
 Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.