How to use your assessment feedback

How to make the most of your assessment feedback, including types of feedback and what to do next.

What is it?

Assessment feedback is provided by your tutors to justify the mark given. But it is much more than this.

Feedback is part of the learning process: looking or listening carefully to your feedback is a good way to:

  • Improve your marks.
  • Give you fresh ideas and inspiration.
  • Highlight what you have done well.
  • Help you to develop as an independent learner.
  • Save you time and money by avoiding resits.

Methods of assessment feedback

Assessment feedback is given in a variety of ways:

Written - essays, reports, case studies, portfolios

Written feedback usually comes as a completed feedback or summary sheet and there may also be comments written on the assignment itself. If you don’t understand what the comments mean, ask the marker, module leader or your Academic Personal Tutor. Read examples of comments and what they mean.


Verbal feedback may be given in 1:1 meetings with your tutor or Academic Personal Tutor; group feedback following an assignment or feedback to small tutorial groups. Verbal feedback may also be given by your fellow students, or by your mentor or supervisor while on placement.

You will also get verbal feedback during seminars and tutorials. For example if you are working on a group project your tutor may ask questions about your approach or findings which will encourage you to reflect on what you have learnt so far and next steps.

Take a note, keep a diary, or record a voice memo so that you don’t forget what has been said and so it can be used for your next assignment or exam revision.

Audio or video

Sometimes tutors will give feedback through a video or audio recording uploaded to Blackboard.

Listen carefully to this and note any points for improvement. As with other types of assessment feedback, if you don’t understand some of the comments, ask the marker for help.


Fellow students provide feedback, for example on a group project to determine the contribution by all group members. The process may be formalised through a marking sheet completed by all students and which contributes to the overall mark for the assessment.

Employers - if on placement

If you are on a work placement, your employer will assign you a supervisor and/or mentor who will give you feedback on your work on a regular basis. Feedback may be written, but will also often be verbal. If there is anything you don’t understand they will expect you to ask.

How to make use of assessment feedback

Be mentally prepared to receive feedback and to learn from it.

The first thing you will look at when getting back your marked work is the mark or grade itself, but do you also look at the feedback comments? You may be reluctant, but be brave and read the comments carefully. Feedback is not a personal attack on your intelligence or ability, but has been made carefully by your tutor as objective advice to help you understand why you have been given a particular mark. It is also given to help you improve.

Make sure you understand the feedback you have been given.

Sometimes, understanding the feedback can be a challenge. Different tutors use different terms when they are marking and they often use academic language which may be unfamiliar. Don't be afraid to ask for help from the marker, the module leader, or your academic personal tutor. if you meet with them, remember to take your assignment and the comments with you. Read examples of comments and what they mean.

Reflect on the feedback you have been given.

Try to identify the main points and be selective about what to focus on - just one or two from each assignment. Do you consistently get the same comments? For example: Your essay needs a clearer structure. This might be an area to focus your efforts for the next assignment. The study skills web pages offer help and guidance on a range of study skills or you may be able to book yourself onto a relevant skills workshop in your campus library.

Types of assessment feedback

The following lists examples of some of the comments you might receive as annotations on the assignment and what you can do to improve.

Poor essay structure

Example of comments:

Your essay needs a clearer structure

The study skills webpages offer help and guidance on academic writing and how to structure your assignments. In particular the following workbooks are recommended.:

Essay structure is also part of the 'How to plan your writing' workshop in your campus library. An assignment planner is a useful tool to help plan your work.

Using paragraphs

Example of comments:

You have written a good introduction, followed by an argument, and added a conclusion, but need to work on your use of paragraphs.

The Library's writing for university workbook has a section on paragraphing. You could also try working through the sections of skills4study on Using paragraphs, and Paragraphs in practice. This is also part of the 'How to plan your writing' workshop in your campus library.

Answering the question

Example of comments:

Although you have described the two main theories well, the question asked you to 'compare and contrast' them, meaning that you needed to draw out the similarities and differences, and then go on to discuss the significance of these.

Try this short activity to check your understanding of words often used in essay titles. There is a useful list that you can print or download. The Academic writing section of skills4study has useful guidance on interpreting assignment titles. This is also part of the 'How to plan your writing' workshop in your campus library.

Insufficient analysis

Example of comments:

Your writing describes the views of different writers, but does not examine the key points and main features of their arguments.

Action: To analyse successfully you must discuss these in depth and question their validity.

Try the skills4study module on Critical thinking, particularly the section on critical reading and writing which will help you to develop a more analytical approach. You could also attend the 'How to read and take notes' and 'how to get started with critical writing' workshops in your campus library. You can also improve your critical reading and thinking by going through the reading and note taking workbook.


Example of comments:

You have developed your argument and supported it with evidence from your reading. Now you must assess this evidence and present your comments in a conclusion at the end of the assignment.

Skills4study has a useful section on Evaluating evidence - it will help you improve and practise your evaluative skills. You could also attend the 'How to read and take notes' workshop and 'How to get started with critical writing' in your campus library.

Insufficient evidence

Example of comments:

You have made some good points, but haven't supported your arguments with sufficient evidence.

Action: Make sure that you support your points by referring to relevant literature, and include full details in your reference list.

The study skills web pages offer help and guidance on academic writing. There is a useful section in skills4study on Finding and evaluating evidence and you'll find guidance on referencing your information sources. For help with specific database searching, use the Ask a Librarian chat service.


Example of comments:

You have obviously read widely and given a list of your references. However, you need to be consistent and use the UWE Harvard system of referencing accurately.

The study skills web pages offer help and guidance on referencing, giving you examples of how to reference for both print and online information sources. There are also details of referencing tools that can help you to manage references and incorporate them easily into your assignments.

Further guidance

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