Why is feedback important?

Feedback is an important part of the learning cycle to help you to evaluate your work so that you can identify strengths, which you will want to continue to have in future, as well as problem areas which you need to improve.

Sources of feedback

There are three main sources of feedback, namely yourself, a peer (i.e. another student) or your teacher. If possible, feedback should be sought in this order.

Use a checlist with specific questions: what you would like feedback on?

feedback on referencing or structure in written work are far more important than problems with spelling or punctuation.

If the feedback is formative, you should use it to help you improve your work as you redraft it, perhaps seeking further feedback from peers to check that the problems have been resolved.

If the feedback is summative, then you should check carefully for the problems you have worked on the next time you complete a similar assignment.

Understand feedback: ask for clarification if necessary.
Prioritise: identify the major problems to work on.
Consider how to improve: ask for help if necessary.
Check for problems: as you redraft (formative feedback) or when you work on your next assignment (summative feedback), check carefully
for the problems you identified. Use self assessment or peer feedback.


Alexander, O., Argent, S. and Spencer, J. (2008) EAP Essentials. Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd.

Cottrell, S. (2001) Teaching Study Skills & Supporting Learning. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rinvolucri, M. (1994) Feedback, ELT Journal, Volume 48/3, pp.287-288.

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