As an academic, you must provide students with relevant feedback on all assessment items.

In providing feedback to students, you need to:

  • make sure that the feedback is timely, informative and supportive
  • outline what the student did well, what they did not do well and how the work can be improved
  • ensure the marks are justified against the stated assessment criteria and standards
  • refer relevant students to appropriate academic support services and ensure feedback complies with assessment policies.

How to give effective feedback

The key elements of effective feedback are:

  • personal engagement with the student
  • identifying what they did well and what they did not do well
  • explaining how their work could be improved by being specific and using a feedforward strategy
  • focusing on being constructive (never sarcastic or humiliating)
  • finishing with a positive statement and an invitation for more communication.

Here is a suggested structure for how you can put together your final comments to students on their assessment.



Example text for relevant section


Set the scene.

Hi Sandy, well done on submitting your first assessment in this subject.

Relational work

Acknowledge students' circumstances.

I know this is a busy time for first year students, so I commend you on completing this work.

Goal statement

Highlight what particular items feedback will focus on.

The primary goal of my comments will be to give you feedback on the key arguments of your case study.

Evaluative summary

General evaluative statement highlighting strengths and weaknesses before going into specifics.

What I noticed straight away was ... (focus on the key elements that link to the task).

Textual work

Describe the patterns with one or two examples.

One thing that would improve this work (focus on what needs improving). For example, in your introduction you …

Comment on substance with emphasis on feedforward

Structure comments on how students can improve and extend their thinking.

Think about what this means in a broader context (comment on the substance of the assessment with emphasis on feedforward).

Wrap up and invite further communication

Incorporate a personal component and invite a continued conversation with the student on feedback to guide future work.

Congratulations on the work you have done so far. I'm looking forward to what you do next. If you would like to have a meeting to talk more about how to improve the work, please don't hesitate to call me.

[Adapted from Henderson, M. & Phillips, M. (2014). Technology enhanced feedback on assessment. Paper presented at the Australian Computers in Education Conference 2014, Adelaide, SA.]

How can I be effective and time-efficient?

Students expect to receive comments throughout their assignments as well as an overall feedback comment. The challenge for you as a marker is to provide this level of feedback while being efficient with your time.

The following tips may help you achieve this.

Consider the feedback you provide

Focus your comments on the key elements of the task. For example, you may wish to comment on grammar and spelling in the first page of written assessments, then subsequently use a comments bank to save time.


NORFOLK is a time efficient platform that allows you to mark students' work. Features include:

  • comment banks
  • rubric creation
  • audio feedback
  • language, literacy and numeracy templates.

Visit Norfolk for video instruction and support.

Note: Norfolk doesn’t work with Mac computers unless a virtual Windows client is used. Please contact DIT for assistance.

Have clear marking criteria and standards

A clearly articulated marking rubric can help you mark assessments. It also supports effective feedback by enabling students to understand where they sit on the continuum of performance measures. Make sure you refer to the marking criteria and standards when assessing the students' work.

The key features of clearly articulated marking criteria and standards include:

  • criteria are clear, and link to the task and the learning outcomes
  • criteria are weighted relative to the importance of the component of the task
  • standards are clearly described and differentiated
  • the pass level is clear evidence of the learning outcome.

Extra resources