Student Feedback on Assessments
The provision of clear, timely and constructive feedback is an essential element of an inclusive education.
Guidelines for Inclusive Feedback
Clarity of format
- Ensure your feedback can be read. Handwritten feedback can be difficult to read. Where possible type feedback, following the accessible information guidelines. If this is not possible, ensure handwriting is legible.
- Consider alternative media for feedback. You can give feedback via sound clips. This allows students to hear your tone of voice and can help ensure engagement and understanding. Oral feedback can be recorded using free open source software such as Audacity.
Clarity of Content
- Tell students where they went wrong and how they can amend their work to attain higher grades in the future. For example, 'say more' may be ambiguous to a student, while 'you could strengthen your argument by making reference to ...' gives a clearer guideline for improvement.
The University of Monash's Inclusive Teaching website includes many examples of how to make general feedback more specific and useful.
- Comment on the positives. This tells the students to continue with a certain practice or strategy, while also building student confidence and motivation.
- Get feedback to students as soon as possible. Consider when students will commence studying for the next assignment and aim to feed back before this date. Without timely feedback students may unnecessarily repeat the same error in multiple assignments throughout the year.
- Limit your 'red marks'. Receiving back work blanketed in red Xs can be very demotivating. This can be a particular issue for students with weak academic English, whose work may contain many grammatical and spelling errors.
- Choose a small number of errors and mark only these. You may choose those most relevant to the discipline, or one example of an error that recurs. Students will feel better able to handle and work on a small number of errors and are less likely to disengage from the process.