How to use your assessment feedback


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.
Student reading through highlighted text in an essay.

Use your feedback

  1. Step 1

    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.

  2. Step 2

    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.

  3. Step 3

    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 section offers 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.

    Your assessment feedback can enable you to audit your current skills. This can help you to draw up an action plan so that you can focus on and develop areas that your tutors have identified for improvement.

    You may also find the Assessment and Feedback Policy helpful.

Further details about assessment feedback

Methods of feedback

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.

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.


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.

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.


Verbal feedback may be given in one-to-one 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.

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.

Check your understanding of words often used in essay titles. This is also part of the 'How to plan and structure your writing' workbook. We also run a 'How to plan and structure your writing' workshop.

View study skills events


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.

Try our How to write critically workbook and the How to improve your work before submitting workbook. You could attend the 'How to read and take notes' workshop and 'How to get started with critical writing' workshop.

View study skills events

Insufficient analysis

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 section offers help and guidance on academic writing, and finding and evaluating information. Try our How to write critically and How to improve your work before submitting workbooks.

Take a look at our guidance on referencing your information sources. For help with specific database searching, use the Ask a Librarian chat service.

Poor essay structure

Example of comments:

Your essay needs a clearer structure

The study skills section offers 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 and structure your writing' workshop. An assignment planner is a useful tool to help plan your work.


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 Bristol Harvard system of referencing accurately.

Don't worry - we provide lots of help on how to reference correctly. Guidance for UWE Bristol Harvard and the University's prescribed styles is available in our referencing support section.

There are regular scheduled workshops on 'how to reference and avoid plagiarism' which covers the main principles you need to cite and reference sources in your work. You can also access the how to reference and avoid plagiarism online workbook to improve your skills in this area.

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 how to plan and structure your writing workbook has a section on paragraphing. This is also part of the 'How to plan and structure your writing' workshop in your campus library.

Marks and feedback

Key information about pass marks, how credits are awarded and receiving feedback.

Marks and feedback
Students writing in a study room.

You may also be interested in