• Author(s): Dr Rosalind Duhs
  • Title: Assessment and feedback to students
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, assessment, feedback
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text, Presentation
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, RTF, ODT, PPT, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 6th July 2011, 12th August 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA


Feedback systems and student engagement in the immediate use of feedback

Students need to engage with feedback and understand what it means if they are to benefit fully from it. Planning feedback related to assessment criteria which are clear and understood by students is a useful basis for feedback systems which support student learning. Student insight into the nature of good work through the use of exemplars will often enable them to improve standards.

Feedback systems with some of the characteristics of academic peer review have the potential to enhance student learning. The following elements are recommended:

  1. Clear assessment criteria related to core learning outcomes
  2. Practice at applying the criteria to students’ own work and the work of peers
  3. The opportunity to draft, self-assess, and peer-assess work and redraft before submission
  4. Brief tutor comments on self and peer assessment before redraft
  5. Brief or targeted tutor comments on the redrafted final version of the work. Comments relate to self and peer assessment and include explicit suggestions as to what to do to improve future work
  6. Follow-up discussion of comments either face-to-face or online
  7. Plans for improvement written by students.

Write an outline of a feedback system and publish it on your virtual learning environment site/in course handouts at the start of term. The text below is a suggestion.


The provision and use of feedback is important for learning. The feedback system on this course is modelled on the academic practice of peer review. Information on the type of work required underpins the model. The critical scrutiny of work by the writer/producer of the ‘text’ in its broadest terms (essay, lab report, presentation, poster, project report etc) results in revision and comments (self assessment). This is followed by assessment by peers who also comment on the work. The text may be revised again. All the versions of the text together with comments are submitted to the tutor who marks the text and makes brief, explicit suggestions as to how the student can develop her/his work to produce a better result in future.

Working in this way will help you to develop your ability to evaluate your own work and the work of your peers, which is a useful skill. Remember that receiving feedback is an emotional experience. Balance positive and negative feedback and do not give negative feedback without suggesting ways of improving. End written and spoken feedback on a positive note, relating good elements of the work to an explanation of why quality in a particular area is high.

Introducing the feedback system

Students need to become accustomed to this way of working. It may be easier to suggest that they write short texts to begin with to familiarise themselves with assessment criteria and try out the draft/feedback/redraft system.


Creative Commons Licence
Assessment and feedback to students by Dr Rosalind Duhs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Contact us: cpd4he@ucl.ac.uk

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