Feedback is communication to the student about how they are performing, how well they are doing at acquiring and mastering the knowledge and skills that teachers are trying to impart to them.
Feedback frequently comes in regard to a specific assessment performance—how you did on a particular essay or exam. But it is important to realise that such specific feedback usually communicates something more general about the state of your abilities and skills, that points beyond the specific instance of assessment.
It is also valuable to appreciate that not all feedback is linked to a specific instance of assessment.
The importance of feedback
Learning is a process of communication between students and teachers, and feedback is essential to that process. It helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, zero in on problem areas, and devise strategies to improve your performance.
It helps you recognise variability and trends in your own performance, and where you stand in regard to your peers. Feedback is not an end in itself, but a tool for advancing the more important goal of learning.
Further information on how to make the most of feedback is available in the pre-honours course handbooks and in the honours handbook.