Making Use of Feedback

Feedback is a very important part of studying and it can deepen your learning. However, you need to make sure you make the most of feedback when you receive it.

Why is feedback so important?

  • It helps you identify where you are going well and what you need to improve on
  • It can improve your next draft or assessment task
  • It can help you focus on issues beyond the mark you receive
  • It helps you to develop useful skills in both an academic context and beyond

What do I do with the feedback I receive?
Once you have received feedback on an assignment, spend some time reviewing it carefully. Look for feedback that tells you what was good about what you did, and what needs more attention. Then, think about what you can learn from the feedback to keep in mind when undertaking your next assignment. This is known as ‘feedforward’. To turn feedback into feedforward, ask yourself, “Based on the information I now have, what action could I take to improve my next assignment?”.  

For example, a teacher might comment on an assessment where you had misunderstood what you needed to do. Although you will not be able to change the grade you received for that assessment, in future it is important to ensure you carefully read and understand the assessment task description. You could look up the exact definitions of task words like ‘discuss’ and ‘analyse’, or you could book an appointment with a Student Learning Support Advisor to help make sense of your next assessment question and help you prepare a plan to ensure you are addressing all parts of the assessment task correctly and completely.

How do I make a feedback action plan?
Making an action plan is a useful way to help you think about how you can improve when completing future assessments.  An action plan doesn’t have to be really formal, and it only takes a few minutes to create.  To make an action plan, review your feedback and jot down some things to do again next time around, things to avoid in future, and things to do or follow up. Then, use this document as a checklist of things you need to do or pay particular attention to when completing your next assessment tasks.

Action plans can also help you ‘let go’ of an assignment, particularly if you feel disappointed with the mark or grade. Creating an action plan can help you to reframe the assignment as a useful learning experience instead of focusing on your unmet expectations. When your action plan is in place, the assignment can be put aside. Your action plan is your reminder of what you have learnt from the feedback you received. You can download an action plan template below.