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Getting students to engage

How students respond to feedback will be influenced by their own attitude to learning and by their Student reading 1prior experience of the assessment and feedback 'system'. Failure to engage with feedback may be due to either the 'system' or to their lack of understanding of their learning goals and the criteria against which their academic performance is measured.1 Feedback also needs to be well-structured and relevant.

Students' experiences prior to university

Understanding students' experiences before university is likely to enhance your ability to engage students in the feedback process and aid their transition to tertiary education. The majority of students in higher education institutions will have attended further education colleges or sixth forms. On the whole, secondary students are taught to a detailed syllabus and are given clear guidance on what exams and course work are assessing. Students receive few long essays; instead they complete short exam-style questions, reports and mock-exams.

Whilst most students would have completed UK-based secondary education before university, it is important to note that some might have been working and others might have been educated overseas.

  • Listen to a Secondary School teacher discussing the types of feedback that his students receive: Dr Daniel Rose (WMV media file - 36.8MB)


1. Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2002) Does your assessment support your students' learning? [online] [accessed on 23rd February 2009].

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