Teaching & Learning


A bluffer's guide to good feedback practices

13 January 2021

Six ideas for helping students to develop a better understanding of academic standards and assessment processes.

Teacher in mask in discussion with a student

Formative and summative feedback is an integral part of the assessment process. Here we offer six ideas for helping students to develop a better understanding of academic standards and assessment processes.

These ideas complement the overarching principles for assessment feedback set out in Chapter 4, Section 8 of the Academic Manual – that feedback should: 

  • help students to evaluate their work;
  • enable students to set and achieve short- and long-term goals;
  • give students opportunities to apply previous feedback;
  • include peer-to-peer and teacher-student dialogue;
  • be motivational for all students;
  • develop students’ assessment literacy; and
  • be timely, so that feedback can inform future learning.

    1. Ensure students understand feedback and assessment standards

    You could, for example, organise a guided marking session at the beginning of your module. See the Guided marking toolkit.

    Explain to students the different forms that feedback can take on your programme, for example: 

    • feedback on practice exercises in class
    • answers to queries about coursework on a forum or in live Q&A sessions
    • verbal feedback in tutorials
    • feedback from clients on placements etc.

    2. Ensure students get formative feedback early on in each module

    Set a formative task in every module and give feedback in the first four weeks.

    Set practice exercises in class (similar to part of the eventual coursework/exam) and give verbal feedback on answers/solutions.

    3. Use a template to standardise marking across the programme team

    An example template is available in the guide Using forms (proformas) for feedback.

    4. Ensure marker feedback is of good quality

    Form and share feedback rules with markers on modules/programmes. 

    Where there are multiple markers, organise for everyone to mark and provide feedback on a small selection of scripts independently and then meet to compare and agree a style of feedback before marking. Markers can contribute to a shared bank of comments.

    You could use the Peer Dialogue Scheme to peer review markers’ feedback. Find out more in Chapter 9: Quality Review Framework of the Academic Manual (section 5).  

    5. Remember the feedback loop

    When providing feedback, indicate how your suggestion will help students improve future work.

    6. Discuss student progress and use of feedback in tutorials 

    Take a look at our toolkit on Discussing feedback with your personal tutees for guided questions you can use in your meetings. Don't forget you can use My Feedback to track your tutees’ feedback.