The University of Aberdeen's Institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback on Assessment

You can download the Framework.

Introduction

The standard of work that we expect from our students has to be very clear, so that they can make progress through their studies. It follows that we must be explicit to students about the criteria that we are going to apply to each individual piece of work, and what we expect from them. After that our feedback must be clear, full and helpful. If we pay attention to these points, then our students will know how they are doing and how to improve. Effective feedback is crucial to improving student performance and to sustaining student morale.

Key Principle: Feedback should be Timely, Supportive, Understandable and Focussed on Improvement.

It is recommended that when providing feedback on assessment, the following guiding principles should be used:

General

  1. Students have the right to receive feedback on all their work, including coursework and exam answers, so that they understand clearly how well they have done and how to enhance their future achievement.
  2. This includes an entitlement to see any comments or corrections added to their work and, to make this meaningful, the University advises that the relevant scripts and course work are discussed with the student, so that comments are not seen in isolation. (Staff should be made aware of the obligation to ensure that students receive this feedback and that what staff write may then be viewed by students.)
  3. Feedback on all assessment should be timely and normally provided within a maximum of three working weeks (excluding vacation periods) following the deadline for submission of the assessment. Feedback should be provided in time to inform subsequent and related assessments and exams. Students should be made clearly aware of the date by which they can expect to receive their feedback.
  4. Feedback should be supportive and meaningful, indicating clearly the strengths and weaknesses of the submission, so that students are clear as to their level of achievement in relation to required standards and how they can improve their future performance. Feedback is important to all students who wish to improve, including those who already doing well but wish to do better.
  5. Feedback may be provided in a variety of ways – e.g. one to one, generic, online and so on– as deemed appropriate to the assessment, and in recognition of student diversity.
  6. Comments on work should be consistent with the Common Grading Scale (CGS) score awarded and students should have the CGS spectrum explained to them fully and clearly.
  7. Academic staff should be encouraged to consider the role and use of Personal Development Planning (PDP), encouraging students to reflect on their performance and to plan for personal development.

Feedback to students on coursework should:

  1. Inform students explicitly how well they have met specific assessment criteria.
  2. Describe how students could have improved the current piece of work and/or how they could improve future work.
  3. Improve students' understanding of the topic of the coursework, particularly highlighting areas where misunderstanding is evident.
  4. Provide comments on technique as well as content.
  5. Encourage students to reflect critically on their work and motivate students to seek to improve performance.
  6. Act as a form of dialogue between student and tutor.

Feedback on examinations should:

  1. Be provided as soon as possible after the exam diet.
  2. Where appropriate, be offered as generic feedback.
  3. Be available to individual students upon request.

Timely and effective feedback plays a very positive role in supporting our learning and teaching objectives and so should be highly valued.