DCU Learning Innovation Unit: Focus on Assessment and Feedback

Learning Innovation Unit

Formative assessment and effective feedback

Assessment and feedback are shown to be areas where students are least satisfied with their experiences of higher education. Both formative assessment and continuous assessment offer valuable opportunities for students to receive feedback on their work to gain deeper insights into areas in which they are doing well or need to improve on.

It is well documented that high quality, timely, feedback, preferably through dialogue with the student, is a positive tool for driving student learning and motivation.

The following resources offer practical ways to give effective student feedback:

Giving effective student feedback

Professor Richard O’Kennedy, DCU suggests the following characteristics of good feedback as a guide to practice:

  • Delivered promptly after submission or within an agreed timeframe.
  • Constructive and encouraging.
  • Includes, where possible, praise when good and noteworthy elements are present.
  • Clear and specific, with advice as to how improvement can be achieved.
  • Avoids comparisons with others.
  • Effective use of time of reviewer and student.
  • Capable of affecting outcomes e.g. new submissions, re-submissions or exam performance.
  • Delivered in sufficient detail to give student clear information on how progress can be made.
  • Where there are very many problems it is generally best to focus on a key number of issues.  A meeting with the student may be the best approach here.
Further resources: