Essential Texts

Seven Principles of Giving Good Feedback

Good practice principles provide a useful starting point and the following are widely accepted for guiding the use of feedback in UK higher education.

  1. Facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning.
  2. Encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning.
  3. Helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards expected).
  4. Provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance.
  5. Delivers high quality information to students about their learning.
  6. Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem.
  7. Provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching

from: Nicol, D.J. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218

This is a widely cited paper and one of many highly recommended resources from the REAP project: Re-engineering Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education

Royce Sadler

Royce Sadler from Griffith University is well regarded in this field. He has produced a series of papers focussing on assessment and feedback.

Graham Gibbs

Gibbs is frequently cited on assessment and feedback in UK higher education.

Technology, Feedback, Action!

This Literature Review (2010) comes from a nationally funded project conducted by Sheffield Hallam. The focus of the review is research publications about the importance of feedback and good feedback practice and how technology can be used to support both the delivery and use of feedback. The review does not specifically cover the language and dialogue of feedback, or self- and peer-feedback, although these references are highlighted within a separate bibliography.

Comparing student and staff perceptions of feedback

Exploring staff and students’ mental maps: creating narratives for successful assessment feedback – This paper by Rona O’Brien and Louise Sparshatt (Sheffield Hallam University) compares staff and students’ mental maps of assessment feedback, proposing a shared approach to reaching a common understanding of ‘good’ feedback.

Assessment for Learning 

Sambell, K. (2011). Rethinking feedback in higher education: an assessment for learning perspective. Subject Centre for Education, ESCalate, The Higher Education Academy. Online at:

The Assessment for Learning Initiative (TALI) team at SHU (2006) developed an annotated bibliography, which contains a list of useful publications, with abstracts, on a variety of assessment associated themes.


Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education (available as an electronic journal from the SHU catalogue)

Other useful references

Biggs, J. (1999). Aligning teaching for constructing learning. Higher Education Academy. Available online at:

Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for quality learning at university (2nd ed.). The Society for Research into Higher Education.

Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the Black Box: raising standards through classroom assessment. London: nfer Nelson

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. & Wiliam, D. (2008). Assessment for learning: putting it into practice. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.

Bramhall, M.D., Eaton, D.E., Robinson, I.M. & Lawson, J.S. (1991). “An Integrated Engineering Degree Programme: Student Centred Learning”. In: by R.A.Smith (ed.) “Innovative Teaching in Engineering”, Ellis Horwood Ltd (publishers), pp.177-182.

O’Neill, G., Huntley-Moore, S., Race, P., Eds. (2007) Case Studies of Good Practices in Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education. Dublin: AISHE., pp149-152.

Gardner, J. (2006). Assessment and Learning. London (UK): Sage Publications.

Gibbs, G. (2006). “Chapter 2: How assessment frames student learning”. In: Bryan C. & Klegg K., eds, Innovative Assessment in Higher Education, Abingdon: Routledge.

Gibbs, G. (2010). Dimensions of quality. York: The Higher Education Academy. Available online at:

Gibbs, G. & Dunbar-Goddet, H. (2009). Characterising programme-level assessment environments that support learning. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 34 (4), pp.481–489.

Gibbs, G. and Simpson, C. (2004). Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1(1), pp.3-31.

Hartley, P. and Whitfield, R. (2011). The case for Programme-Focused Assessment. Educational Developments, 12(4), December 2011. Available online at:

Knight, P. & Yorke, M. (2003). Assessment, learning and employability. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Knight, P. (1995). Assessment for Learning. Oxfordshire (UK): RoutledgeFalmer.

McDowell, L. (2012) Programme Focused Assessment: a short guide. Pass Project. Online at:

Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.

NUS Assessment and Feedback Benchmarking Tool :

Orsmond, P., Merry, S. & Reiling, K. (2000) The use of student derived marking criteria in peer and self assessment, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 25(1), 21–38.

Price, M., Handley, K., Millar, J. & O’Donovan. B. (2010). Feedback: all that effort, but what is the effect? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 35 (3), pp.277–89.

Price, M., Rust, C., O’Donovan, B., Handley, K. & Bryant, R. (2012). Assessment literacy: the foundation for improving student learning. Oxford: ASKe.

Race, P. (2001). The lecturer’s toolkit: a practical guide to learning, teaching and assessment, 2nd edition. London: Kogan Page.

Ramsden, P. (1994). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge.

Robinson, I.M, Bramhall, M.D, Lawson, J.S. (1991). An Integrated Engineering Degree Programme (IEDP), Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 2(2).

Russell, M. & Bygate , D. (2010). Assessment for learning: an introduction to the ESCAPE project. Blended Learning in Practice, 2010, March , pp. 38-48 .

Sambell, K. (2011). Rethinking feedback in higher education: an assessment for learning perspective. HEA escalate. Online at:

Scoggins, J. & Winter, R. (1999). The Patchwork text: a coursework format for education as critical understanding, Teaching in Higher Education, 4(4), pp.485 ­ 499.

Vardi, I. (2013). Effectively feeding forward from one written assessment task to the next. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(5), pp.599-610.

Winter, R. (2003). From the patchwork text:a radical re­assessment of coursework assignments. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Special Issue, 40(2).

Winwood, B. & Glover, C. (2008). How to write Assessment Criteria, Sheffield Hallam University. See: