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Student Feedback

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									Student Feedback

What is feedback?
Feedback is at the core of learning and teaching in the College. In its simplest form feedback is a
conversation between student and teacher. It aims to be insightful, critical, and enabling: feedback is an
exercise in learning rather than a quantitative measure of how well you have done in your last piece of
work. It is reasonable to expect that you will have received feedback before undertaking any major piece
of assessed coursework during the year and all your formal feedback before the end-of-module
examination.

The feedback you receive will come in many different forms, both formal and informal, including
assessment grades, comments on work, conversations with tutors, notes to an entire class, and
discussion with other students. Although this guidance often uses the example of feedback on written
work (such as exam papers or coursework essays), it is equally applicable to other assessed activities
such as class practicals, presentations and performance. Some examples of feedback that occur across
the College appear throughout this document. For instance:

        When you are on a placement, in a laboratory, on a field trip, on a ward or studying abroad you
        are likely to receive feedback in terms of your performance or skills-base on your placement.

Whatever form your feedback takes, it is a valuable tool in ensuring your next relevant piece of
work/activity is better.

         In a lecture another student may ask a question that you might not have asked yourself, and the
        teacher’s response is feedback to you as well as to the person who asked the question.

Feedback is a two-way process between yourself and your teachers. It is your responsibility to make
sure you understand the feedback you receive and seek out a more detailed explanation if you need it.
Feedback should be easy to understand and to act upon.

        The discussions and question and answer sessions that take place during a tutorial are useful
        forms of informal feedback.

Timeliness of feedback
It is College Policy to provide you with a deadline by which all feedback will be delivered; normally this
will be no longer than four weeks 1 from the submission deadline. To be effective, feedback must be
delivered promptly, while you still have a clear recollection of the assignment just tackled, and so that it
can feed forward into the next assignment. In all cases the timeframe in which you can expect to receive
your feedback should be made clear so that you know when to expect it.

It is College Policy to provide students with generic feedback (based on the whole cohort’s performance)
on unseen written examinations.

Your role in the feedback process
There is a core assumption that you will take responsibility for your own learning and this applies to
feedback. However, learning works best as a two-way process and teachers are there to be of
assistance. Asking for help may seem daunting in your first year at university but if you actively request
information it is more likely that feedback in that form will enhance your learning.




1
  Some forms of assessment (eg M.Sc. dissertations, Final year projects, taped case study, audio visual submissions etc) may
require longer.


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        Discussions in seminars or tutorials are a form of feedback that helps you to recognise the
        strengths and weaknesses of your ideas

The role of self assessment
As you write your assignment consider the standards you are supposed to achieve and the academic
conventions (for argument and citing evidence) to which you must adhere. Use this awareness to revise
and improve your assignment before it is submitted. You should read and re-read drafts several times
before you submit your assignment; this is good practice. In this sense the main feedback process taking
place is with you.

Practice these skills for yourself by looking at previous assignments on topics similar to the ones that you
are tackling. This helps to ensure that previous feedback is taken on board. A simple way to do this
before you submit your assignment for marking is to review your own assignment in relation to the criteria
that you have been given. Leave yourself time to revise your draft in the light of this self-assessment,
don’t hand it in without checking.


Self-supervision and self-improvement
The practice of ‘self supervision’ comes with experience and an awareness, of what is degree-standard
work and what is not. You can then bring this understanding to bear on the way that you write. In this
sense the main feedback process is one of self reflection. The feedback from others acts as additional
information which gradually increases the sophistication of your own self-supervision.

Asking for feedback
Teachers do not always provide feedback on those aspects of your assignment that you are most
concerned about; do not be afraid to ask for specific feedback if this is the case. You should usually
expect to receive feedback on your knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter at hand, and
more specifically the strengths and weaknesses of your arguments, the factual accuracy of the material
you presented, whether you have addressed the question/essay title sufficiently, and the appropriateness
of the sources you selected to do the assignment.

        Feedback may be a tutor helping you to recognise when you have (or have not) reviewed the
        literature thoroughly enough or have not drawn conclusions from the evidence that you have
        gathered carefully enough.

The role of assessment criteria
You should be able to understand why you received the grade you were given in relation to some kind of
formal statement of expectations and standards. This enables you to know what you are aiming for and
identify the areas that need improvement. If your programme does not provide a statement of criteria in
the student handbook, then ask for it. Making best use of the formal feedback you receive will help you to
meet the required standards.

College Assessment Board January 2010




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