Feedback in the Sciences: what is wanted and what is given


  • Meloni M. Muir
  • Lorraine M. Ryan
  • Helen Drury


This paper reports the initial findings from a study investigating students’ perceptions of the feedback they have received at university in order to gain insight into the kinds of feedback most sought by students. Four hundred and nineteen second-year university Science students completed a 53 item questionnaire. Using a Likert scale, the questionnaire examined i) how students experienced feedback, ii) what students did with feedback, iii) how useful students perceived feedback to be, and iv) what type of written feedback was important to students. Statistical analyses of the data indicated that students carefully read feedback, used it to both go over the current assignment and improve future assignments, and that feedback received contributed to their understanding of course content. In addition, the data showed that a significant majority of students reported both positive and negative feedback as useful. The results suggest that students use written feedback not only for reflection on the assessment for which it was provided but to feed forward on future assessments. The results will be discussed in relation to the model of feedback proposed by Hattie and Timperley (2007).