Using assignment feedback
Receiving feedback is often one of the most difficult aspects of being a student because it involves elements of vulnerability and judgement.
You have laboured over an assignment that incorporates much of yourself in respect to
- Your own organisation and integration of points into the assignment.
- Your own choice of words and phrases.
you are then required to hand over your creation to someone else who pronounces judgement. This involves detaching yourself from the project, and, in many instances, doing so at a stage where there may be a feeling of incompleteness because not enough time has been available to fully finish the project, perhaps leading to feelings of regret and possibly guilt over not meeting personal and internal standards.
At the same time, however, it is often a time of relief and excitement: you are no longer burdened by the task and can stand back and reflect on the achievement of relative completion.
After a delay of several weeks, the assignment is returned with a grade or mark, which may not meet expectations.
This may lead to frustration, disappointment, regret, and sometimes confusion after having spent many hours of hard work on the project. In managing the process of dealing with feedback, some tips and strategies are suggested to help you gain the most from the experience. So, before reading assignment feedback, try to keep the following in mind:
- Being a student is a learning experience, which offers its own unique lessons of personal discovery for each individual participant.
- Mistakes are not mistakes, in the conventional sense, but opportunities to learn.
- Constructive criticism leads to opportunities for improvement. (Without feedback, how can anyone progress and improve?)
- Each person enters university from a different cultural background, with different expectations, and with varying and diverse levels of prior participation in education.
- The mark or grade awarded is the judgement of one individual, within a specific cultural and historical context.
- The mark or grade is based on one piece of work within the entirety of a person's life, which does not reflect or acknowledge the management of all other tasks and commitments achieved.
When receiving feedback, try to always allow some time to reflect deeply about the comments made so improvement can be gained the next time round.
Lecturers often use jargon and educational terminology to explain their mark:
- Referencing and plagiarism
- Structure (e.g. in essays, reports, or literature reviews)
- 1st person
If you are unsure about your feedback, ask for clarification from the course co-ordinator or look up their marking terminology on OWLL.