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Engaging students with feedback

Engaging students with feedback.
If students are to learn from feedback, they must have opportunities to construct their own meaning from the received message: they must do something with it, analyse it, ask questions about it, discuss it with others and connect it with prior knowledge.
(Nicol et al., 2014, p. 103)
You will now look at two genuine pieces of written and electronic feedback from two different universities.
Although many institutions now provide most of their summative feedback using electronic systems, many teachers still need to handwrite comments for student works, such as artefacts or draft thesis chapters.
Below you will find two genuine pieces of feedback (examples 1 and 2) prepared by teachers in two different UK universities. As you read them, please pay attention to your initial reactions.
Feedback example 1: handwritten feedback for essay assignment
Example of handwritten feedback, which is very difficult to read, with no layout or structure.
Feedback example 2: electronic feedback from Turnitin, an online marking tool
Example of electronic feedback, which is spilt into paragraphs and is very clear to read. The student can see what they have done well, where they can make improvements and what their marks are for each criteria.

Your task

Having read both pieces of feedback, reflect on how you would feel if you received this feedback as a student.
  • Do you find them legible?
  • Are they specific enough for you to act upon?
  • Are they useful?
  • Do they create a dialogue with you?
Join the discussion to share your critique on the positive and negative aspects on both pieces of feedback.
Read your peers’ contributions and comment on some of the ways in which your views are similar or different.


Nicol, D., Thomson, A. and Breslin, C. (2014). Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: A peer review perspective. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1), 102–122. DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2013.795518 Web link

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Exploring Teaching and Assessment for Higher Education

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