Giving Assessment Feedback


Feedback has a significant impact on learning; it has been described as "the most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement" (Hattie, 1999). The main objectives of feedback are to:

  • justify to students how their mark or grade was derived
  • identify and reward specific qualities in student work
  • guide students on what steps to take to improve
  • motivate them to act on their assessment
  • develop their capability to monitor, evaluate and regulate their own learning (Nicol, 2010).

To benefit student learning, feedback needs to be:

  • constructive. As well as highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of a given piece of work, it should set out ways in which the student can improve the work.
  • timely. Give feedback while the assessed work is still fresh in a student's mind, before the student moves on to subsequent tasks.
  • meaningful. It should target individual needs, be linked to specific assessment criteria, and be received by a student in time to benefit subsequent work.

Feedback is valuable when it is received, understood and acted on. How students analyse, discuss and act on feedback is as important as the quality of the feedback itself (Nicol, 2010). Through the interaction students have with feedback, they come to understand how to develop their learning.


Case studies

For a transcript of the video on this page, see Transcripts.

Benefits of Providing Feedback - Tim Hanna

Feedback in Assessment - Danny Carroll

In these videos, UNSW educators discuss the importance of feedback in assessment and strategies for implementing it.

Additional information