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Making the most of feedback

man writing
Image credit: Pixabay

You’ve submitted your completed assignment. Days or weeks later, you receive the marks or grade along with comments. How can you get the most benefit from the feedback?

1 Acknowledge your feelings

Getting feedback can be emotional. You might feel elated, if you’ve got a good grade, or angry and deflated if you haven’t. Either way, don’t let your feelings stop you from benefitting from the feedback. Acknowledge your feelings, talk to someone else about them if need be, and let your mood settle before moving on to step 2.

2 Interpret the feedback

Go through the comments carefully. Do you understand them? Your assessor might have written, ‘Make your argument more coherent.’ What does that mean? How can you demonstrate it? You need to know the answers so you will be able to improve the coherence of your next assignment. Underline or highlight anything in the feedback that you’re unsure about. Then find the answers. This might involve checking the assessment brief or marking criteria, asking other students or going back to the person who assessed you.

3 Turn feedback into action

What can you do next time to be more successful? For example, you might allocate more time for the assignment or alter the balance between thinking, reading, note-making, planning, writing and checking. You might have skills to work on, such as improving your citing and referencing. Jot down your action points and refer to them when you do your next assignment.

Feedback can be gold dust. But only if you reflect on it and turn it into action.

Trevor Day
19 May 2022


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