Postgraduate students' perceptions of what makes for effective assessment feedback: a case study of a clinical masters course

Postgrad Med J. 2020 Sep 15;postgradmedj-2020-137538. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-137538. Online ahead of print.


The purpose of this study was to examine postgraduate students' perceptions of assessment feedback. Using the Critical Incident Technique, students enrolled on a taught clinical course were asked for their perceptions of effective and ineffective examples of assessment feedback. The data were analysed using thematic analysis and nine themes emerged that capture perceptions associated with feedback content and feedback process. Students perceived effective feedback if it was specific and clear, using positive tone of language. They expressed a preference for feedback that is delivered in a standardised format, reflecting the grades given, individualised, and when the marking criteria is explicit and enables dialogue with the marker. Students perceived feedback to be ineffective when it focused on grammatical errors rather than content, when it was provided by anonymous graders and if it was too personal. Timeliness of feedback was also important to participants. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are highlighted in this paper.

Keywords: Medical education & training; education & training (see medical education & training).