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Assessment and Feedback Key Principles and Bibliography

Approved by University LTAC November 2015

  • An emphasis on formative assessment that generates high quality feedback

  • A reduction in summative assessment

  • Well defined links between formative and summative assessments, so that feedforward from the former to the latter is clear

  • Mappin​g, sequencing and streamlining assessment varieties within modules and across the programme, so that assessment and feedback is:


Assessment and feedback is appropriately spaced without overloading particular times, modules and levels


Modules, and levels of study, complement each other, with the learning from assessments and feedback in each designed to accompany other assessment and feedback in the programme.

Assessments and feedback build on previous experiences, with learning pathways through programmes by which students have the chance to experience key assessment types and carry forward the feedback from them to use in similar but increasingly sophisticated or demanding contexts.

The timings and the types of assessment and feedback are clear to students and staff, as is the rationale underpinning our assessment and feedback design.


  • More activities to help students understand the assessment criteria, for example, self-assessing against criteria, peer marking, rewriting criteria in user-friendly language and exposing students to exemplars, which are then discussed in relation to criteria

  • Team calibration exercises to help markers engage with the same criteria together, discuss variations, and agree common standards

  • Adapting feedback regimes to engender more student attention to feedback, and developing cycles of reflection so that feedback feeds forward to the next task

  • Feedback as a dialogue and a conversation rather than a monologue from a lecturer to a student


Bloxham, S., and P. Boyd. 2007. Developing effective assessment in higher education: A practical guide. London: Open University Press

Carless, D. 2006. Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education 31, no. 2: 219–33

Carless, D. 2009. Trust, distrust and their impact on assessment reform. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 34, no. 1: 79–89

Freire, P. 1996. Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin

Gibbs, G., and C. Simpson. 2004–2005. Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning. Learning and, Teaching in Higher Education 1, no. 1: 3–31.

Gibbs, G. 2006a. How assessment frames student learning. In Innovative assessment in higher education, ed. C. Bryan and K. Clegg, 23–36. London: Routledgep>

Gibbs, G. 2006b. Why assessment is changing. In Innovative assessment in higher education, ed. C. Bryan and K. Clegg, 11–22. London: Routledge

Higgins, R., P. Hartley and A. Skelton. 2002. The conscientious consumer: Reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education 27, no. 1: 53-64

Hounsell, D., V. McCune, J. Hounsell and J. Litjens. 2008. The quality of guidance and feedback to students. Higher Education Research & Development 27, no. 1: 55-67

McArthur, J. and Huxham, M. 2013. Feedback Unbound. From Master to Usher. In Merry, S., Price, M., Carless, D. and Taras, M. (eds) Reconceptualising Feedback in Higher Education. Routledge, London

Sadler, D.R. 1989. Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science 18, no. 2: 119–44

Sadler, D.R. 2002. Ah! … So that’s ‘quality’. In Assessment: Case studies, experience and practice from higher education, ed. P. Schwartz and G. Webb, 130–6. London: Kogan Page

Sadler, D.R. 2005. Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 30, no. 2: 175–94

Scoles, J., M. Huxham and J. McArthur. 2012. No longer exempt from good practice: Using exemplars to close the feedback gap for exams. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education