Ask yourself

  • Do you want to learn how to respond positively to feedback on your assessments?
  • Do you want to make better use of your assessment feedback and aim for better grades?

How this module will help you

  • You will move from being defensive about feedback/criticism to embracing and applying feedback to become a better student.
  • You will understand how feedback can improve your academic success.

What you need to know

Studies show that the amount of time you spend interacting with your feedback has a significant impact on the rate of improvement in subsequent assessment tasks (Zimbardi et al, 2017). By developing better skills in understanding and applying feedback on assessments, you will achieve stronger academic success.

Video Content

Start by watching one of the following videos

Roll With the Punches: How to Accept Feedback

Sheila Heen

Run, hide, or say thank you: when faced with feedback, what do you do?" | TEDxCoMo

Joy Mayer

Test your capacity to take on assessment feedback

Take a recent piece of assessment that you have received feedback on and use the tool on ‘Using Feedback’ in thedesk to identify ways to take the feedback on board and improve your academic success.

What you can do to understand and make better use of assignment feedback

Read: Take the time to read and reflect on what the feedback means and what you need to do to improve next time.

Ask questions: If you’re not sure what is meant in the feedback provided, or you think there is not enough clear advice on how to improve in subsequent work, seek further clarification from your teacher/tutor (by phone or email) or the student support staff at your university.

Apply: Write a list of things you can do better next time you prepare an assessment and aim to get a better grade.

Feedback: To encourage your teachers/tutors to continue to provide useful feedback to you and other students, let them know you appreciated the effort they went to, and what actions you took in response.

Other students: Interacting with your peers to increase your understanding of how to connect with, and apply feedback, can help you apply it. So, chat with fellow students about your feedback and become an active constructor of feedback information. Just as learning is an active process, so is your interaction with feedback. Alternatively, you could ask your teacher/tutor if there is the opportunity for peer feedback methods to be used in the course, as the feedback from peers doing the same topic can provide another useful perspective to complement feedback from teaching staff. This can also help you to identify what characterises a quality assessment and the different ways it can be produced.

Interact Small-group discussion: If you are studying on-campus, you could ask your teacher/tutor if it is possible to make some time after an assessment is returned, for there to be small group discussions to share feedback received and work out strategies to improve next time.

Video feedback: If you are studying online or externally, ask teaching staff to provide video feedback on your online platform that you can watch and refer to again if needed. Studies have also indicated teaching staff felt that video feedback allowed them to more effectively emphasise their key points and increase interaction with students (Orsmond et al, 2013). Comments database: Another opportunity to create conversations around feedback would be to ask teaching staff to provide students with the whole databank of comments used and then have a conversation about which comments each student thinks is relevant to their assessment. This encourages students to self-reflect and identify how you might respond to the feedback.

Embrace: Don’t let your emotions get in the way of using feedback to improve. Don’t be afraid of critical feedback – research shows that feedback comments need to reflect elements of criticality, so take these comments on board and change for the better! Reflect: consider your reaction to feedback – whether you are defensive or proactive – and focus on developing a growth mindset so you can integrate feedback more effectively.

Using feedback to improve

Source: UniSA, Using Feedback to Improve, online factsheet developed by UniSA Learning Advisers. By actively using the feedback that is provided to you (both before and after your work is undertaken) you can improve your overall understanding of a course, and your academic performance.

How might you receive feedback from your lecturer or tutor?

  1. Verbal and written comments or answers to questions delivered both individually or to the whole group during lectures, tutorials, practicals, placements, presentations, seminars, workshops etc.
  2. Online messages via individual and group emails, or messages on discussion forums.
  3. Answers or comments to online or in-class quizzes.
  4. Verbal or written comments on assignments to you individually, or your group.

What can you expect from feedback?

Feedback is a mixture of positive comments and advice about how you can improve your work. It may contain constructive criticism and sometimes these comments may disappoint at first. However, it is important to remember that feedback is designed to help your learning and improve your skills overall.

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