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Feedback on Exams

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Feedback on Exams

Feedback on exams may differ from the types of feedback that you are accustomed to providing on coursework. 

In particular, the timing of end-of-semester exams can make providing feedback challenging. 

What the University Requires: 

  • Feedback and provisional marks must be returned to students within 20 working days from the end of the exam period 
  • For Semester 2 exams, feedback can be provided either within the 20-working-day deadline or at the start of the next term/semester 
  • Whole cohort feedback must be issued to students within these deadlines, and students must be informed that they have the option to request individual feedback.  Students should be made aware of the opportunity to receive individual feedback on request. 
  • Units are not required to return copies of scripts to students or allow students to see scripts, although they may choose to do so. Students have a legal right to request access to the breakdown of marks and markers’ comments 

The Newcastle University Policy on Assessment and Feedback provides more detail on the requirements of marking. 

  • Exam Feedback and Feed Forward 

    Feedback should ‘feed forward’ and aim to help students improve their performance in future assessments. This can be built into your teaching through a range of activities, for example: 

    • Exam feedback provided to one module cohort can be used to structure revision sessions for students in the same module the following year 
    • In tutorials, you can ask students to respond to previous exam feedback and brainstorm the relevant marking criteria 
    • Students could practice marking samples of work from the previous year's cohort 
    • Ask students to review feedback received on their past exams, for example for a module that is a pre-requisite for your module, and reflect on how they will respond to that feedback in preparing for your module’s exam 

    Individual feedback on exams 

    Academic units are required to provide individual feedback on request. They may choose to provide individual feedback on all exams, or on specific exams for which students may require extra or more personalised guidance. 

    Methods of providing individual exam feedback 

    • Feedback Requests - Asking students to explain why they wish to receive individual feedback can help staff to tailor the feedback appropriately.  Consider setting up a feedback request form to structure students’ requests. 
    • Feedback Session - Schedule an in person session where students can attend if they would like individual feedback. Marked exam scripts are available for students to consult with the module leaders on a one-on-one drop in basis. 
    • Individual Recording - ReCap allows you to talk a student through their exam as you would in person. Recordings can be quicker than typing feedback and students can listen to them again. 
    • Individual Exam Scripts - Copies of exam scripts and marking sheets with written feedback can be returned to students.
    • NU Reflect - You can view marks with tutees in NU Reflect and encourage them to reflect on their assessments and ways to improve. You can write feedback assessments in NU Reflect and shared with students individually. Students can make and share notes with their tutor before a tutorial/feedback session and further notes afterwards detailing their next steps. 
    • Digital ExamsInspera digital exams and Canvas quizzes allow you to write feedback for automatically marked questions prior to the exam being taken, and can be tailored for correct or incorrect answers. This can be released to students automatically after an exam or formative quiz.  

    Group or Cohort Feedback 

    Cohort exam feedback is intended to guide students in measuring their performance against the standards of the exam marking criteria and in assessing how they met the intended learning outcomes. 

    At minimum, cohort feedback should explain the expectations for a basic (pass-level) answer versus higher-scoring answers and outline common student mistakes. It is often most useful for students to address individual questions, although this may not be possible for some exam formats. 

    Methods of providing cohort feedback 

    • Written feedback summary - Provide a summary of cohort feedback in your Canvas course.
    • Feedback in a teaching session – Present a summary and give students the opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the feedback. 
    • Feedback recording - Use ReCap to create a recorded summary of the cohort feedback.