Give usable feedback for assignments

For assessment to really encourage student learning, feedback is essential and should be:

  • clear
  • informative
  • detailed
  • future-focused – providing guidance on how to improve their learning.

Feedback should contain:

  • descriptions of the features of the student’s work (what has been done and/or not done)
  • evaluative judgments/comments linked to criteria and standards that indicate the features of the work that add to or detract from its quality (how well things have been done)
  • suggestions for alternative approaches that would lead to improvement
  • explanations or directions to resources that demonstrate an improved possible approach the student could use
  • motivating comments (e.g. praise, encouragement) that indicate that an aspect of the work is praiseworthy and explain why the element being praised is good.

Feedback should be written in language that is clear and simple, and matches the students’ stage of development as learners and understanding of the discipline.

Avoid communicating to students in ‘code’.

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching offer workshops on designing assessment and providing usable feedback.

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