Feedback – it’s not just noise!

As the Student Union Feedback Charter explains, feedback tells you how you are performing. It helps you learn by identifying your strengths and areas for development. Below are some practical steps to help you make the most of your feedback.
For a printer-friendly PDF version of this guide, click here.


Feedback wave superimposed on University of Leicester image

Prepare for it!

Have a look at the Students' Union Feedback Charter to understand what you can expect of feedback on your course. Make sure you understand how you are being assessed and how you will receive feedback. Written feedback can be found on Blackboard, but may also be given verbally through one-to-one or group discussion. Valuable feedback might also come from your peers through peer-marking activities. Some Departments provide marking criteria or rubrics, or examples of ‘good’ student work on Blackboard. Alternatively, you can get a sense of style, structure, type and depth of analysis by looking at Masters Level dissertation ( or academic articles in your discipline.

  • How does your piece of work compare?

Being able to reflect on how well you feel your assignment meets the marking criteria or rubric will also help prepare you for the emotional aspect of receiving feedback.

Understand it!

Good feedback should challenge you to learn and improve, and this can be upsetting if it accompanies a mark or grade you are disappointed with. Don’t let that stop you using it, though. If you need to, give yourself a couple of days to be upset or disappointed, and then use it to improve and meet your long term goals.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of feedback, is that it gives concrete examples of where you have, or have not, met the marking criteria or rubric. For example, all those times you thought: ‘how much detail do I need to go into in this essay? Well now you have the opportunity to see whether you did give enough detail, or whether you need to give more in the future.

Try working through the following points with your assignment and feedback:

  • What are the key things in the marking criteria or rubric that markers are looking for in order to decide whether a piece of work is a 1st, 2:1 or 3rd?
  • Can you find specific examples of where you have or have not met those criteria?
  • If you have questions then ask your Module Convener, Personal Tutor, Course Rep or the Academic Skills Centre.

Use it!

Do you know what you need to do to apply this feedback to help you meet the learning outcomes in your next assignment? Some illustrations of pro-active approaches to development are given below, but note, that there are many other ways of developing ‘wider reading’; ‘academic language’ or ‘critical analysis’.

  • ‘Wider reading’: You could use your reading lists to identify more relevant sources.
  • ‘Academic language’: You could talk to an Advisor at the Academic Skills Centre about how to write in your discipline.
  • ‘Critical analysis’: Talk to your Personal Tutor about what they define critical analysis to be in your discipline.

If you’re not sure how to improve your work, do you need advice from your personal tutor or the Academic Skills Centre?


Further examples of how students can analyse and apply their feedback are available for history and english, and there is also a form and an accompanying video to help you work through your feedback.


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