School of Mathematics, Tel: +44 (0) 1509 22 2861

Feedback to students on coursework assignments


Setting an examination

Format of examination papers

Marking an examination

Feedback on examinations

Setting and marking coursework

Issuing coursework information

Submission of coursework

Return of coursework

Feedback on coursework

Resit coursework

Setting and organising tests

Marking by research students



University guidelines state the following:

"Departments shall ensure that adequate, timely and appropriate feedback is provided to students on all coursework assignments. It is recognised that much valuable feedback is provided orally, but departments are encouraged to give feedback in a form that is retrievable eg in written or electronic form, and must keep records of feedback to students having taken place. The feedback should enable students to understand the reasons for the mark/grade given and should include constructive comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the work. The communication of marks/grades should be individual and confidential (except where a common mark/grade is given for group work); the communication of individual marks/grades by ID number is permitted."

Note that results lists are permitted provided that ID number rather than name is used. Before the issue of such a list, all students should be asked if they wish to be omitted from the list.

A numerical mark must be written on all courseworks returned to students (but students must be made aware that all such marks are provisional until ratified by the Board of Examiners).

In addition to a mark, it is important to provide written feedback; some suggested mechanisms for doing this are listed below.

  • Written comments to individuals on coursework scripts or on a template of common errrors.

  • General comments to all students given in writing on paper or by email.

  • Detailed model solutions.

University guidelines allow staff some latitude in the provision of written feedback on coursework. In particular written feedback could be limited in the following circumstances.

  • For low achieving students where other strategies, in particular one-to-one discussion, may be more appropriate.

  • Where a student receives high marks, again, other forms of feedback might be considered.

  • Where there are one-to-one discussions, group feedback sessions, and/or where detailed model solutions are provided.

In view of the National Student Survey it is particularly important that effective feedback be provided. One problem is that students often do not recognize when they are being given feedback on their work so use the word "feedback" liberally. Also, say in advance (in a coursework document and/or on the LEARN server) what form the feedback will take.

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