Biomedical Teaching Organisation

Academic feedback and assessment

Feedback plays a vital role in sustaining excellence in teaching and learning across all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

This two-way process thrives on interaction and dialogue between students and their teachers, and a sense of belonging to a vibrant community of learners. 

Feedback comments on your work are intended to indicate the particular strengths and weaknesses of your work, and to help you reflect upon why you were awarded your mark. If you are unsure about what a particular feedback comment means, contact the marker or the course organiser for clarification.

Examples of feedback

  • Lectures with practice examination questions which students attempt and discuss and the lecturer comments to the class before the summative assessment.
  • Verbal feedback in tutorials, or of lab books, posters or seminars.
  • A "worked examples" class or tutorial where the class directs the tutor's writing hand in answering an "exam question" on the board in real time. The Tutor then criticises him/herself, thus providing non-threatening feedback to the class and providing feedback on common mistakes and wrong directions adopted.
  • Using clickers to provide instant feedback to large classes.
  • Information given to students before they do a piece of assessed work.
  • Tutor comments on a discussion board for postgraduate online distance learning programmes.

Feedback requirements

All students will be given at least one formative feedback or feed forward event for every course they undertake, provided during the semester in which the course is taken and in time to be useful in the completion of summative work on the course. Such feedback may be at course or programme level, but must include input of relevance to each course in the latter case.

Formative feedback

Formative feedback may look different depending on your programme type, whether you're an Online and Distance learner, are campus-based, or study by research.  Methods of feedback for different programme types are covered in detail in your programme handbook.

Examples of Formative Feedback

  • Summative feedback from a previous assessment of a similar style (e.g. a discussion assessment, a presentation).
  • Expectations for the assessment provided within your programme handbook or in your course's VLE.
  • Feedback on a draft version of the assignment.
  • Training sessions e.g. Effective Presentation Skills for an assessed presentation.
  • Q&A sessions with an academic member of staff to discuss the assignment in advance of submission.

All summative assessment should be considered and used as formative feedback for future assignments.

Feedback on formative and summative assessed work will be provided within 15 working days of submission, or in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course, whichever is sooner. Summative marks will be returned on a published timetable, which has been made clear to students at the start of the academic year.

Read the University of Edinburgh's Taught Assessment Regulations