The Open UniversitySkip to content

An investigation into written comments on assignments: do students find them usable?

Walker, Mirabelle (2009). An investigation into written comments on assignments: do students find them usable? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(1) pp. 67–78.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (158kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Students' response to the feedback they receive on written assignments is an important but relatively under-researched aspect of teaching and learning. This paper presents an analysis of over 3000 written comments made on 106 assignments in three course modules in a Technology faculty, and also the results of telephone interviews with 43 of the students whose commented assignment had been analysed. The interviews explored how usable students found the comments, including their response to specific comments that their tutor had made on the assignment. When the results from the interviews were matched to the types of comment found in the analysis, it became apparent that students find some types of comment considerably more usable. These findings are discussed in the light of the current state of assessment practice, and possible future avenues for research in this area are suggested.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2009 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1469-297X
Keywords: feedback on assignments; student response to feedback; usable feedback; gap-altering feedback; skills-developing feedback
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 15054
Depositing User: Mirabelle Walker
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2009 13:50
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 12:57
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU