Feedback to Students
Following NSS and PTES results on feedback the National Union of Students has been working on this issue and produced ten principles for good feedback practice which the University of Bristol endorses.
- Should be for learning, not just of learning
Feedback should be primarily used as a learning tool and therefore positioned for learning rather than as a measure of learning.
- Should be a continuous process
Rather than a one-off event after assessment, feedback should be part of continuous guided learning and an integral part of the learning experience.
- Should be timely
Feedback should be provided in a timely manner, allowing students to apply it to future learning and assessments. This timeframe needs to be communicated to students.
- Should relate to clear criteria
Objectives for assessment and grade criteria need to be clearly communicated to, and fully understood by, students. Subsequent feedback should be provided primarily in relation to this.
- Should be constructive
If feedback is to be constructive it needs to be concise, focused and meaningful to feed-forward, highlighting what is going well and what can be improved.
- Should be legible and clear
Feedback should be written in plain language so it can be easily understood by all students, enabling them to engage with it and support future learning.
- Should be provided on exams
Exams make up a high proportion of assessment and students should receive feedback on how well they did and how they could improve for the next time.
- Should include self-assessment and peer-to-peer feedback
Feedback from peers and self-assessment practices can play a powerful role in learning by encouraging reassessment of personal beliefs and interpretations.
- Should be accessible to all students
Not all students are full-time, campus based and so universities should utilise different technologies to ensure all students have easy access to their feedback.
- Should be flexible and suited to students’ needs
Students learn in different ways and therefore feedback is not ‘one size fits all’. Within reason students should be able to request feedback in various formats depending on their needs
HE focus journal from the NUS about feedback
University of Bristol Code of Practice for the Assessment and Progression of Students on Taught Programmes:
Further information and published articles on feedback