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Assessment & Feedback: Interpreting & implementing feedback

Understanding and interpreting feedback

Feedback from assignments can make you feel a sense of pride and achievement, that you are progressing in the subject that you enjoy. However, sometimes it can also feel daunting or even disheartening. The important thing to remember is that it is feedback, its purpose is to give you praise, constructive criticism and advice on how to improve.

Reading feedback can often feel like a negative experience. On its first read, it can be easy to take comments personally, therefore waiting a day or two and re-reading the comments can make it easier to take on board things which you did well and identify improvements. 

Feedback often focuses on things which could have been better, but this isn’t intended as a criticism. It’s a dialogue between you and your marker, indicating areas to focus on in the future. These comments can make a useful checklist for you to refer to in later assessments.  

What to do with your feedback

Making an action plan can help you to focus on areas where you would like to improve and how you can achieve your goal. You will have regular scheduled meetings with your Personal Academic Coach through the academic year and to make the most of your time with them, an action plan could help you achieve this.

An action plan could be as simple as creating a mind map identifying areas that you’d like to improve and then a bullet point list of what steps you will take to achieve this. Alternatively, you could create a more detailed plan by using a framework like a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

SWOT Analysis
  1. Step one: Identify your Strengths- what are you good at? What existing skills do you have? What positive feedback where you given?
  2. Step two: Make note of any Weaknesses- what do you want to improve? What feedback have you been given?
  3. Step three: Where/ what are your opportunities? When can you set time aside to work on your goals? What resources do you have available to help you achieve your goal?
  4. Step four: What are your Threats? Did you rush everything last minute? Do you have other commitments that impact your study time? Identify what could prevent you from achieving your goal and how you could mitigate these.  

Making mistakes is a natural part of learning and you should not be worried about making them. The important thing is to reflect on errors made and seek improvements for your next assignment. Below is a list of some of the common errors made by students and key themes found in tutor feedback. Follow the links for advice on how you could improve your skills in each area.

Further Reading