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Samuel Predeth

February 18th, 2023

Make the most of formative feedback

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Samuel Predeth

February 18th, 2023

Make the most of formative feedback

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Each module will often set formative assignments to help prepare you for a summative throughout the year, but how do you make sure the feedback you receive is being acted upon? In this blog I will be discussing how to make the most of your formative feedback to get the best grades you can!

Once you receive your formative assignments back from your teachers, take a minute to pause and reflect. Think about how you felt writing the essay and how you felt when submitting – were you confident, nervous, dismissive or pleased? This will give you an insight into how confident you feel with the course material, and you can more easily relate the feedback to your emotional response. At this stage, the numerical grade you receive holds little weight. Although it is an important indicator of what classification level you are working at, it’s the qualitative feedback that is vital for formatives so do not worry if the grade isn’t what you were expecting or aiming for.

A way that I use to track my formative feedback is by creating spreadsheets or tables. Having one place to see all your grades for your modules and the most important pieces of feedback can help you identify reoccurring patterns of mistakes or strong components of your assignments. When you first receive feedback, make sure you work through all the information and highlight the most important parts, whether that’s structure, knowledge and understanding, citations or critical analysis. For myself, it became apparent through multiple assignments that I was lacking critical analysis, which was dragging my grades down across all my modules. Once I identified this, it made it much easier to tackle future assignments as I had seen that this was a weakness in multiple areas, and I knew how to improve.

An important thing to note is that negative feedback can help identify what you may need to work on to improve your grade, but do not neglect positive comments. Teachers will often highlight if you are doing something very well in your assignments and this is something to note. If you have been told that your fluency and structuring is excellent, but your understanding is lacking, you shouldn’t sacrifice one component to compromise for another. The structuring of your work can remain consistent while improving this understanding of course content, producing a stronger piece of work.

When planning and writing summative assessments, it is important that you do not neglect this feedback. Teachers give feedback for a reason, so by implementing what they have asked or working on components that need it, it will help boost your grade because it is exactly what they are looking for when marking. Keeping your feedback in tables as mentioned earlier can make this easier to refer to when writing and to remind yourself during the process. Often the formatives correlate very closely with the summatives in style and content so by implementing improvements suggested throughout feedback, there is a much higher chance of receiving top class marks.

Even if your course or modules do not have formative assignments throughout the year, as one of mine did in first year, use your previous summative feedback in the same way to help inform future essays and projects. They will count towards your overall grade, but it is better to take risks and experiments in less weighted assignments than in a final project or exam.

The key takeaway from formative feedback is identifying common themes and faults in your work as well as setting you up to excel in your summatives. Taking all the suggestions on board and continuing components that are already excellent will ensure that top marks are heading your way!

About the author

Samuel Predeth

Hi! I'm Sam. I'm currently a second year BA Geography student at LSE and I am originally from Portsmouth, UK.

Posted In: Student life

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