Feedback is an essential part of the assessment activity. For feedback to be effective it needs to make sense to the students so that they can use it to develop their learning and it needs to be timely. It should include feedforward elements to guide future progress and the students should know how they can act on the feedback. Feedback should be encouraging and motivational- we want students to use the feedback, not be put off by very negative comments.

Students should know when, where and how to access their feedback and the feedback should be in clear and simple language. Relating comments directly to the assessment criteria helps students understand why they achieved the mark they received. It can sometimes be useful to use questions within the feedback to help students to reflect on their work and identify their own areas for improvement. Encouraging students to discuss their feedback from assignments with their personal tutor is also beneficial.

Too much feedback can be overwhelming so if there are several areas for improvement, summarise the most important points for the student to focus on for the next assignment.

If we want students to act on the feedback then we need to provide future opportunities for students to demonstrate how they have engaged with, and learned, from feedback. Considering how assignments fit together within and across modules, will enable the development of such opportunities.