Positive Changes To The College’s Feedback Policy

The Students’ Union is here to represent your academic interests and one of our aims is to improve your education. Feedback on your academic work is often a point of contention and one which you raise consistently year on year.

Whether that’s because it’s not been returned on time and you’ve not been informed why, you can’t read the handwriting, or the feedback is so basic that it gives little indication how you can improve.

That’s why we spent a large chunk of our first Course Rep Conference last year asking students and academics alike to discuss the ways in which feedback is most useful.

Following this, the Students’ Union took a paper to College which suggested three principles of feedback and several recommendations for improving the speed and clarity of the feedback you receive.

We are delighted to announce that, having gone through the College’s academic governance process, the paper has now passed through Academic Board, the highest academic committee at Royal Holloway, and the work stemming from our collaborative conference has made effective change in policy.

What Does This All Mean In Practice?

There are several highlights in the report. The first, and biggest, is a clarification in the turnaround time between submission and receiving your glorious feedback.

The policy now makes sure that all assessed work (other than formal examinations) should be returned with feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline and the deadline for the return of work should be made clear when submitting, with any changes being communicated to you as soon as possible.

The only caveat is that weekends, bank holidays and dates when the College is closed (like Christmas and Easter breaks) are not included in the working days (staff need some downtime too) and certain assessments may not come back in 20 days if there are pedagogic reasons for delaying the release, which should be clearly communicated to you.

There are now three principles that staff must work to when giving feedback on assignments, and that you should be aware of whenever you have to give feedback.

  1. Feedback can come in a variety of forms. It’s not just what you get on the paper, one-to-one chats, personal tutor meetings and any type of verbal feedback also have weight and meaning.
  2. Feedback should be clear about academic performance. You should be able to clearly see the use of marking criteria in all feedback.
  3. Feedback should be constructive. Pretty obvious to be honest. You want to know where and how you can improve, so we made sure that this is a requirement. No more lists of the things you did wrong with no explanation.

AND we’ve encouraged personal tutors to include discussions on your exam performance in your tutorials, to ensure you get as much feedback as possible out of your exam experience!

Amazing! When Is This Happening?

This will be rolled out over the summer so should be in place for the next academic year.

You can check out the full document here.