Feedback Guidelines for Staff

Feedback Guidelines for Staff

Suggested procedure

The principles outlined in this resource were used to derive the following procedure for a final feedback summary. These quick and simple steps are designed to efficiently deliver the highest impact:

Write a (minimum) 4-sentence final summary in the following format:

  1. Start with the student's name and positively affirm the best aspect(s) of the assignment.
  2. Phrase a specific criticism in positive tones (e.g. as a question)
  3. Provide a concrete suggestion and/or an example
    (If necessary repeat steps 2-3 but limit to a maximum of 4 issues)
  4. Final words of encouragement and/or high-level advice

See below some examples for different grades and students.


The following principles were developed based on recent research including at Macquarie University. Adhering to these simple principles will maximise the effectiveness of written feedback.


  1. Formative Feedback at Macquarie University: What Students Say They Want.
  2. Price, M; Handley, K:  Jill Millar, J & O'Donovan, B (2010). Feedback : all that effort, but what is the effect? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Vol. 35, No. 3, 277-289
  3. Shute, V (2007). Focus on Formative Feedback. Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  4. Hattie, J & Timperley, H (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research , Vol. 77, No. 1, 81-112
  5. Jessop, T;  El Hakim, Y & Gibbs, G (2014). The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: a large-scale study of students' learning in response to different programme assessment patterns.  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39:1, 73-88,
  6. Agius, N & Wilkinson, A (2014). Students' and teachers' views of written feedback at undergraduate level: A literature review. Nurse Education Today, vol. 34, 552-559
  7. Li, J & De Luca, R (2014). Review of assessment feedback. Studies in Higher Education, Vol.39:2, 378-393
  8. Weaver, M (2006) Do students value feedback? Student perceptions of tutors' written responses, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31:3, 379-394
  9. Lizzio, A & Wilson, K (2008) Feedback on assessment: students' perceptions of quality and effectiveness, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33:3, 263-275
  10. Hyland, F & Hyland, K (2001). Sugaring the pill: praise and criticism in written feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing 10: 185-212.
  11. David Nicol (2010) From monologue to dialogue: improving written feedback processes in mass higher education, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35:5, 501-517