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Learning from Feedback

Feedback is an important part of your learning journey. Through your time at university you will receive feedback in a number of ways, all of which will be offered in a way that supports your progression. Please look through the below tabs for some further guidance on understanding feedback and how to use it proactively to support you through your time at university.

Formative Feedback
Formative feedback is offered at points throughout each unit ahead of final assessment. The purpose of formative feedback is to help you build on your work before you submit your final piece of work. It will tell you where your weaker points are and what to do to improve.

Summative Feedback
Summative feedback measures how well you have done and will include your final grade with feedback on your assessment submission.

Written Feedback
Written feedback commonly given through tutorials ahead of summative assessment and as part of your grade from final submission.  To benefit from your feedback you should read any comments carefully – it’s not just about the mark you get. If there’s anything you don’t understand, make a note and ask the marker for more information. Make sure you know what your mark means by reading the grading descriptor in your handbook and reflect on your feedback and think about how you can do better next time.

Oral Feedback
Oral feedback is mainly given during teaching sessions and guides you to where you need to improve on ahead of summative assessment. When getting oral feedback, remember to participate, ask questions in lectures or contributing during seminar sessions, be proactive and make appointments to see your tutor or a learning development tutor. Make notes and reflect on what you’ve heard – how can you use this feedback? Use other people’s feedback, other students will also ask questions and contribute during seminars. 

Peer Feedback
Peer feedback is gained by discussing your work with your fellow students, talking through your ideas and getting feedback from them on what they think.

Why is feedback important?

  • Feedback can offer you the tools to further improve your work, therefore improve on your final grade.
  • Overall, feedback is there to help you to assess your own learning and reflect on your development.
  • It allows you to discuss your learning with your tutors and helps you to understand good performance and what is expected of you. 
  • Encourages you to think positively about your learning.
  • Provides information to teachers that can help shape their teaching. 

How do you use feedback productively?

  • Try not to feel too disheartened by feedback. Feedback can be helpful, don’t take it personally. 
  • Concentrate on finding out what you  missed out in a piece of work and use it to help you think about how you can improve. For example, if a marker says, "the introduction was somewhat vague, with unsupported phrases", you should ask your tutor to show you where in your work this applies.
  • Try not to be grade focused. Reflect on the written comments noted by your tutor in your feedback too.
  • Try to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your work yourself. If your analysis matches up to that of the person marking the work, you’ll know that you understand your capabilities.
  • Book a tutorial with a member of your course team or other academic staff such as Learning  Development Tutors as soon as possible. Do not wait until a few weeks before hand-in. 
Feedback Plan
You may find it useful to reorganise your feedback into a list of bullet points, organised by topic point, you can then use it as a check list or reminder for future assignments as well as the basis for tutorials.

To help, download the Feedback Plan Template.

How is your grade decided and what does it mean? 

  • Look at the grade descriptor in unit handbooks for a guide to the terminology used for marks in your feedback.
  • Remember that marks in the 50–70% range are perfectly normal. Your grades will improve as you get used to working at university level, and in the style required by your degree subject.
  • Before starting a piece of work, make sure you understand the assessment criteria. Assessment criteria will vary from each unit, so becoming familiar with what your tutors will be marking you on is very important. You can find the assessment criteria in your unit handbook.
  • Generally, higher marks will be awarded when you can display a clear understanding of the subject. Best marks will be given to students who have engaged with formative feedback, independently read around their subject and bought their own analysis and criticism to the assessment.
  • Lower marks are given when a piece of work suggests you don’t understand the subject or contains irrelevant detail. This is normally due to poor planning or lack of understanding/engagement.

Learning Development Tutors
Learning Development Tutors work with students to help ensure they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to be successful learners.  For more information about Learning Development Tutors and to book a tutorial see - Academic Skills.

Further Reading
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