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Do students engage with feedback?

It’s important to consider how we can best support students and enable meaningful engagement with feedback.
Students need to develop assessment literacy to understand what is required of them in their assignments and to help them succeed, and the same principle applies to feedback. Indeed, the term ‘feedback literacy’ has been used to explore how students understand the nature of feedback and how to use it effectively (Carless & Boud, 2018).

Why students might mistinterpret feedback

Research in this field has found that students may misinterpret or disengage with feedback for a variety of reasons, such as their previous assessment and feedback experiences, the timing of feedback and assessment or the language used.
As educators we need to be aware of these potential barriers and the impact they might have on students’ wellbeing – after all, involvement in feedback processes can often be emotional (Falchikov & Boud, 2007). It’s important to consider what we can do to support students in this regard and how we can enable meaningful engagement with feedback.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
(George Bernard Shaw, n.d., cited in Kenney, 2020)


Carless, D., & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: enabling uptake of feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1315–1325.

Falchikov, N., & Boud, D. (2007). Assessment and emotion: The impact of being assessed. In N. Falchikov, & D. Boud (Eds.), Rethinking assessment in higher education (pp. 154–166). Routledge.

Kenney, C. (2020, November 9). The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. The Irish Times. Web link

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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