Closing the feedback loop? Iterative feedback between tutor and student in coursework assessments

Martin Barker* (Corresponding Author), Michelle Pinard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluate the case for using feedback iteratively, to improve student engagement and learning. In this model, students were invited to respond to tutor feedback with students’ own responses. Among the three courses/modules (three tutors) studied, differences in feedback styles were evident from: (a) thematic analysis of tutor comments and, for one course, and (b) comments in a student focus group. Students were inconsistent in their evaluation of tutor feedback but, in a more detailed study of one of the courses, there was clear evidence for the benefits of iterative feedback. Lessons from the main study were then applied to a course that had not previously incorporated iterative feedback. Using this experience, we provide suggestions for applying iterative feedback in assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-915
Number of pages17
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

This study was conducted by the lead author as part of a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Learning and Teaching at the University of Aberdeen. We are grateful for the critical and encouraging comments from course tutors Darren Comber, Joy Perkins and Mark Young. Helpful comments were provided by two anonymous reviewers. We are also grateful to colleagues who kindly allowed us to study the use of feedback in their courses: Sarah Woodin and Sarah Dalrymple. Consecutive marks data (Figure 5) are provided by one of the authors (MP). We particularly appreciate the contribution of the 29 students on those courses,
without whose cooperation we could not have conducted this study.


  • assessment for learning
  • formative
  • student response
  • summative


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