Analysing your feedback
In this post, you will develop your understanding of marking criteria and how it relates to feedback. We will also look at how you can use marking criteria to analyse your feedback.
Marking criteria are often used by lecturers and tutors when marking work. They help to keep marking as consistent, fair and rigorous as possible by clearly defining expectations. They show what you need to do to achieve a 2:2, 2:1 or 1st, and the feedback you receive will be based on how closely you have met the expectations outlined in your marking criteria in your work.
However, marking criteria are not just useful for your tutors — they also let you know what is expected of you in an assignment. Reading through and taking the time to understand your marking criteria is really useful when planning assignments, and for understanding the feedback you are given.
In this post, we’re going to look at what marking criteria are and the different types of marking criteria used. We will also investigate the ways in which we can make use of marking criteria to better understand your feedback and the make informed judgements of where you need to develop your work.
Different types of marking criteria
There isn’t a standard ‘one size fits all’ marking criteria across the whole University. Your tutors’ choice of marking criteria will depend on the subject being taught and the type of work being assessed.
The three types of marking criteria you may encounter are unstructured, structured and combined.
- Unstructured marking criteria use free comment and are often used with essays and reflective work. If the marking criteria aren’t clearly stated, it can lead to imprecise, impressionistic marking.
- Structured marking criteria allocate a proportion of the total marks available to each of the marking criteria.
- Combined marking criteria allow for a mix of structured and unstructured marks and comments.
Making use of marking criteria
How do you currently make use of marking criteria?
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We highlighted earlier how your lecturers and tutors make use of marking criteria. However, they are not just useful for your tutors — they also let you know what is expected of you in an assignment. Reading through and taking the time to understand your marking criteria is really useful when planning assignments, and for understanding the feedback you are given.
You can make use of marking criteria in a number of ways:
- To understand tutor expectations for an upcoming assignment.
- To help plan your assignment.
- To understand the feedback you receive.
- To action feedback by identifying areas for development in future assignments.
- To self-assess your own work before submitting.
If you are unsure where to find the marking criteria for your next assessment, ask your lecturer or tutor!
Understanding your own marking criteria
The terminology used in the marking criteria can often be confusing. However, taking the time to understand what the terms might mean will allow you to better understand your lecturer’s expectations and the feedback they give you.
There are different strategies you can use to develop your understanding of the language used in marking criteria. For example, you could discuss the words and terminology with your tutor.
How you will make use of marking criteria going forward?
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Using the marking criteria to understand your feedback
Once you understand the marking criteria, it can become a really useful tool to better understand the feedback you receive on your assessments. By analysing and comparing the marking criteria with your feedback, you can begin to see where you are at the moment, how that compares with tutor expectations and where to focus your development for the next assignment.
In this post, we will look at how the marking criteria for an assignment relates to feedback received.
Below, you can see a piece of real feedback and the marking criteria for the assignment. We have highlighted where the feedback relates directly to the marking criteria using the same language.
One way to make use of the marking criteria is to place it alongside the feedback you receive on an assignment. This will allow you to see where you have met your own and/or the tutor’s expectations but, more importantly, show where you may need to focus in the next assignment and what skills you may need to work on to develop and improve your work.
To view full screen, click the ‘expand’ button in the bottom right.
Has this activity made you feel differently about how and why tutors provide feedback in the way they do?
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Making a judgement
Using the marking criteria will help you to use and apply your feedback more effectively in your next assignment.
Once you have identified where there might be an element that you have missed or a skill that you need to develop, there is some decision-making to be made by you. You will have to decide how, when and where you are going to develop those areas before your next assessment.
Now you are aware of how to use marking criteria to analyse your feedback, you can begin to form an action plan of how to develop your work for future assignments. Read our related post ‘Acting on Feedback’ linked from the further support section below. If you would like to develop your understanding of feedback in general and the types of feedback you might receive at university, read our posts on ‘Understanding what Feedback is’ and ‘Different types of Feedback’.