My Approach to Student Feedback

Providing student feedback is a vital part of their learning and development. In the first lesson of each module, I spend time discussing the module assessment and begin to address any questions that the student immediately has. This is extremely important, as these questions may fester, and students may become more nervous as time lapses. My role is to provide guidance and information to the students and provide an introductory lesson into the marking scheme. Introductory lessons are vital for students to allow them to understand what is required in their assignments (Rolfe, Fresher, and Jasper, 2001).

Providing feedback is essential; however, the students must engage with the feedback and expand upon it. It is vital that too much feedback is not provided, for example, by commenting on every sentence as it does not allow the students the opportunity to develop their points. Sadler (1989) explains that feedback is the ability for students to re-focus their thoughts on the gaps of their work and aim to redefine these and understand the importance of why these gaps need to be addressed.

I tend to avoid the use of comments such as ‘nice work’ for students, I prefer to state, ‘this is a good start to your assignment, there are additional areas which you could build upon such as…’. This then encourages the students to review the feedback and begin to expand on the areas discussed. The provision of quality feedback encourages the student to focus upon their learning and develop their writing skills rather than fixate on their current task (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). By providing comments such as ‘nice work,’ ‘you have smashed it,’ does not provide the students will encourage to expand their assignment further. Instead, I feel it limits the students, as they may believe they are not required to add or review their work. Peergrade (2016) argues comments such as ‘nice work’ ensure the student is not in doubt; however, it provides limited constructive feedback.

Bellon, Bellon, and Blank (1991) believe feedback needs to be consistent across all students and focus upon empowering and building student confidence. However, it can be difficult if students provide a limited sample of their work. Therefore, when providing feedback, I break it down into sections to allow the students to understand how they need to develop. I use phrases such as ‘You have explained the …. theory well, to enhance this further you need to provide supportive references’ or ‘That is an excellent point, how would you further expand this?’ prompting the students to review these critical aspects of the assignment. Gibbs and Simpsons (2004) emphasise the importance of quality feedback, as it allows the students to focus on areas that they have missed or needed to further expand upon, which I believe I provide with my suggestive comments.

Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos (2019) recommend constructive feedback, as it results in a positive relationship with students as students feel they are being empowered by their lecturer to improve themselves. Furthermore, Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos (2019) state it is vital for lecturers to praise their students rather than criticising their work. Thus, the importance of my approach of the one to two positive, one improvement approach. I use sentences such as “The topic you have selected it very interesting, and you clearly have read around the topic well. To further support your arguments, I would recommend reviewing additional journal articles from the last five years”. Furthermore, providing encouragement rather than criticism. Other comments I have used are, “You have grasped a good understanding of the topic, and can you gain additional marks source further references to argue your point across.”

Reference List:

Bellon, J.J., Bellon, E.C. & Blank, M.A. (1991) Teaching from a Research Knowledge Base: A Development and Renewal Process. Facsimile edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA.

Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Available at

Peergrade. (2016) Can negative feedback drive students? Available at:

Rimm-Kaufman, S. and Sandilos, L. (2019) Improving students’ relationship with teachers to provide essential supports for learning. Available at:

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. and Jasper, M (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Sadler, R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science. 18. Pp. 119 – 144.

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