Rather than simply focusing on a mark from piece of assessment, students need to be encouraged to proactive recipients of feedback, not only to improve on future assessment outcomes but also to develop relevant transferrable skills. Feed-forward is therefore an essential component of feedback.

Key Principles

When seeking to enhance student learning through feedback the following principles apply:

  • Explicit - The importance of responding to feedback and not just the mark awarded should be made explicit.
  • Accessible - Feedback comments should be provided in clear, jargon-free and constructive terms in order for students to allow student to fully engage with these.
  • Relevant - Whilst generic feedback to a class group is beneficial, feedback on future assessment strategies should be individualised in order to be viewed as relevant to personal development.
  • Interactive - Students should be given opportunities to develop and discuss with their tutor (and peers) their own strategies for future improvement in assessment.

Good Practice

  • Peer Discussions - Provide time in teaching and tutorial sessions for students for student to discuss feedback comments with their peers in class and develop a range of strategies for development.
  • Reflective Portfolios - Encourage students to keep a record of their assessment feedback throughout their programme and make reflections on this. Use tutorials to discuss these.
  • Individual learning plans - Use feedback to support students in developing individual learning plans. Use tutorials to discuss these.

Zimmermann's (2002) Phases of Self-Reflection - Applied to Student Learning from Assessment and Feedback

Zimmermann's Phases of Self Reflection Applied to Student Learning 

Further Reading

Advance HE (2016) The Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit (DEFT) [online] Available from: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/developing-engagement-feedback-toolkit-deft

Advance HE (2020) On Your Marks: Learner-focused Feedback Practices and Feedback Literacy [online] Available from: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/your-marks-learner-focused-feedback-practices-and-feedback-literacy

Carless, D & Boud, D. (2018) The Development of Student Feedback Literacy: Enabling Uptake of Feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, pp.1315–1325.

Duncan, N. (2007) Feed-forward: Improving Students' Use of Tutors' Comments. Assessment & Evaluation in HIgher Education 32(3), pp.271-283.

Holmes, K and Papageorgiou, G (2009) Good, bad and insufficient: Students’ expectations, perceptions and uses of feedback - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=