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Using tutor feedback

This book looks at how you can recognise feedback when it is offered to you; how to ask for feedback and how to use the feedback you receive in a positive way to feedforward.

Site: Solent Online Learning
Course: Succeed@Solent
Book: Using tutor feedback
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Thursday, 21 June 2018, 5:17 PM

Using tutor feedback

In order to continue to develop your learning, remember to:

  • Recognise feedback when you get it.
  • Know how to ask for feedback.
  • Use the feedback you get:


Please note:

The content of this book is based on the pamphlet, Feedback, a ‘how to use it’ guide, from Sheffield Hallam University.

Recognising feedback when you get it

Tutor feedback

You can get some form of feedback from a great variety of sources:

  • Your tutor. 
  • Yourself.
  • Your classmates. 
  • Computers.
  • A family member.
  • Employers.
  • Study assistance staff.

What forms does feedback take?

  • Formal written feedback -a report written by a tutor summarising your strengths and weaknesses. Use the scribbles in the margins or corrections on the page as feedback too.
  • Formal spoken feedback- comments on your work in a tutorial or seminar. Can be more substantial and useful than written feedback because you also get the chance to ask questions. Remember to record what was said. 
  • Checklist forms -a set of marking criteria with tick-boxes which indicate whether you were poor, fair or excellent. Forms can use a graded scale that helps calculate your final score and your overall grade.
  • Model answers- a model after your assessment shows how your work can look next time; a model before your assessment tells you how your assignment should look now (feedforward).
  • Computer-generated feedback-  can give feedback immediately including some generalised comments as well as your score.
  • Informal spoken feedback- consists of any agreement, disagreement, argument or discussion relating to your work. Gives you the chance to reflect and change your opinion or approach. 
  • Informal written feedback- notes in the margin of a draft paper; a list of common errors or common successes; pointers on a PowerPoint slide or from a seminar task observation
  • Self check- leave the paper or presentation alone and return later with fresh eyes. How well are you progressing? In what areas do you need to seek help so you can improve?

Feedback before doing an assessment

All the time you spend studying and learning about a subject, you are preparing yourself for your assessments.

Think about these situations:

  • In a lecture – you ask a question because you don’t understand what the lecturer is talking about;
  • In a seminar – you get into a discussion with your classmates and tutor because you just don’t agree with their point of view;
  • In a tutorial – you have the chance to ask your tutor question about the things that your find really complicated and confusing;
  • In the students union – you ask a classmate how she feels about the subject.

In all of these, you get the opportunity to compare your own thinking with other people’s. This is all great help in developing your approach to the subject.

Feedback while you’re working on an assessment

As you work on a paper, presentation or portfolio, remember to always think, reflect, question and look for help on your topic.The following example activities give you the opportunity to notice if you are going in the right direction:

  • Mindmapping – mindmap with a couple of classmates everything you know about the topic of your presentation; work out which ideas are useful and which are not
  • Researching – email your tutor for some help if you are finding the technical language in a paper difficult
  • Drafting – seek comments from anyone willing to read your first draft of your essay
  • Editing – ask someone in your family to read your paper and tell you if it’s easy or difficult to read;
  • Proofing – run spell and bookgrammar check on your computer.

Remember: Feedback comes in many forms.

Alter and shape your approach through these activities above.

Feedback after your assessment

Comments on finished work can also act as feedforward if you notice your strengths and weaknesses and keep them in mind for future work.The following situations can constitute feedforward:

  • After a report – your tutor fills out a marking sheet with checkboxes telling you your scores in different aspect of you report. You spend some time looking again at the report and understanding why you got particular marks.
  • After an essay – your tutor writes out comments on the content of your paper and also on your style and the structure of the paper – this is really useful because you’ll know how to do the next one better.
  • After a presentation – your tutor gives you immediate, spoken feedback, and invites your classmates to do the same. You make sure you make notes on all the comments – positive and negative – for later reflection.


Always seek advice from your tutor if you don't understand any of the feedback you get.

Knowing how to ask for feedback

The work of everybody at university is to increase the amount of learning going on which means that you should never be afraid to ask:

Ask for help

  • Is there anything about the task you have been set that’s not clear to you?
  • Is there anything else you need to know in order to do the task well?
  • Is there any way that your tutors or your classmates can help you while you are trying to learn?

Ask for a response

  • Are there any specific areas of your work that you want advice on?
  • Can you ask your tutor to focus on the areas that you find most difficult?
  • Why not ask for extra focus on what you have done well?

Ask for advice

  • What do I need to do next time?
  • What do you need to do more of?
  • What do you need to do better?
  • What do you need to do differently?

Ask if you don’t understand anything

  • What does this comment mean?
  • If you don’t understand your feedback which is supposed to highlight your strengths and weaknesses, keep asking questions until you do understand.

Using the feedback you get

Turn feedback into feedforward

Feedback is a backward process of looking at what you have already done, and telling you what was good or bad about it.

Feedforward is a process of looking forward to what you can change and do better next time. Feedback can also feedforward if you use it to change what you do in the future.

Positive feedback:
Do more of that in the future. Reflect on how to use it in other contexts.

Negative feedback:
Make positive change come out of negative feedback and you will always improve. Don’t ignore comments or they will always be feedback, never feeding-forward into your future work:

  • Study your feedback carefully;
  • Pay attention to positive and negative comments;
  • Identify what you need to do to reach a higher standard;
  • Create a summary of the feedback;
  • Correct/rewrite your assignment;
  • Go to your tutorial with an Assignment Feedback Tutorial Form;
  • Make notes of what is said to you in spoken feedback;
  • Listen carefully, and ask questions so you understand the feedback;
  • Make an action plan based on your feedback.

Don’t be passive: make feedback a springboard for change and improvement

Study your feedback, reflect on it and work out how it can help you.

Acting on feedback.

  • Pin reminders next to your study desk.
  • Add pointers onto your next essay plan.
  • Incorporate suggestions into your work.
  • Ask for help on how to incorporate feedback in to your work
  • Be prepared to change your whole approach if you have to.
Feedback summary form (PDF opens in new window)
Feedback tutorial form (PDF opens in new window)
Post feedback (PDF opens in new window)
Feedforward tips (PDF opens in new window)

Feedback checklist

Passing exams

To ensure that your feedback helps you to improve:

  • Turn feedback into feedforward – aim at constant improvement;
  • Start noticing all the different feedback you get, all the time;
  • Start noticing all the different people that give you feedback;
  • Ask for feedback when you need it;
  • Ask for the feedback you specifically need;
  • Make notes on feedback – keep them together and reflect on them;
  • Start making action plans based on your feedback;
  • Use your feedback to make changes in what you do.


Feedback summary (PDF opens in new window)

More help

If you'd like some more help with Tutor Feedback you can:

  • Ask your lecturer for guidance.
  • If you are a disabled student you can also contact Access Solent for guidance and support.
  • View the glossary to help you understand the words used.
  • Read a book or ebook from the reading list found in Extra resources.
  • Visit recommended websites in Extra resources for further guidance on Tutor Feedback.

If you have any feedback about this book or additional material you'd like to see in the course, please email us at

Thank you to all staff and students at Southampton Solent University who contributed to this course. 

Extra resources

Reading List

This is currently being updated.

Recommended websites

This is currently being updated.


Documents used in this resources

Feedback guide (PDF opens in new window)
Feedback summary form (PDF opens in new window)
Feedforward tips (PDF opens in new window)
Feedback tutorial form (PDF opens in new window)
Postfeedback (PDF opens in new window)