Teaching & Learning


Peer assessment and giving timely feedback

Dr Lawrence Bellamy (Genetics, Evolution & Environment) shares how how he and his colleagues approach peer feedback and the challenge of giving timely feedback on a module with over 500 students.

Lecturer giving feedback to student

16 July 2021

Clear and timely feedback, a student priority

It's common to find that student evaluation data is highly praiseworthy of the teaching experience but very critical of aspects of assessment and feedback, especially the time it takes for students to receive feedback on summative work.  

The NUS assessment and feedback benchmarking tool echoes research (see for example Dawson et al., 2019) finding that timely feedback that enables students to act on it in their next piece of summative work is a key piece of improving the effectiveness of feedback.

Of course, feedback practices should not become hostage to student evaluation surveys (Winstone et al., 2021, p.4); the effectiveness and timeliness of feedback should go hand-in-hand.   

Timeliness on a large cohort module

In this video, Dr. Martin Compton (Arena Centre) interviews Dr. Lawrence Bellamy (Lecturer on Genetics, Evolution & Environment) about the importance of a timely turnaround and how he, his colleagues and a team of PGTA and Postdoc markers organise to overcome this issue on a module with over 500 students. 

Dr. Bellamy also talks through the process and impact of a peer review process on a formative version of the same assignment. 

The feedback stages as described in this video are multi-layered and iterative; students see the work of others, can perceive their own work through the lens of peer work and with closer attention to grading criteria and finally receive feedback in the form of summative comments and evaluation from the academic team.

Feedback has to be delivered back quickly in order for the students to accelerate and improve for the next assessments … if you don't give feedback back as quickly there's no way they can improve during the module...In my experience as a marker students tend to be less concerned about grade they get as long as it's clear how they can improve. -  Dr. Lawrence Bellamy, Lecturer, Genetics, Evolution & Environment)

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/23a4ie4f

Video length: 23 minutes 

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Jump to a specific section 

  • Chapter 1: Context 
  • Chapter 2: Perspectives on issues with turnaround time for feedback 
  • Chapter 3: Broad approach to assessment 
  • Chapter 4: Role of peer review in formative work 
  • Chapter 5: Dealing with issues in peer review formative work
  • Chapter 6: Additional benefits to peer review
  • Chapter 7: Organisation of summative marking processes 
  • Chapter 8: Overcoming and addressing standardisation and moderation issues
  •  Chapter 9: Student responses to the assessment design and prompt feedback turnaround 

Guidance on peer assessment and timely feedback

For advice on how to set up a peer review system speak to your faculty learning technologists or contact the Digital Education team.

To discuss the principles and processes of peer assessment and timely feedback turnaround, contact the Arena Centre.


Dawson, P., Henderson, M., Mahoney, P., Phillips, M., Ryan, T., Boud, D., & Molloy, E. (2019). What makes for effective feedback: Staff and student perspectives. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(1), 25-36. 

Winstone, N. E., Ajjawi, R., Dirkx, K., & Boud, D. (2021). Measuring what matters: the positioning of students in feedback processes within national student satisfaction surveys. Studies in Higher Education, 1-13.