Abbie Deeming, Senior Lecturer in Education, has been commended by students and external examiners for her assessment guidance and feedback – and use of marking rubrics.  These meet the University’s requirement to mark to learning outcomes, and to make the criteria used in marking clear to students. 

cartoon character holding a red pencil drawing a big red tick, to denote marking

Abbie is clear on the benefits of using marking rubrics:

“By providing students with clear guidance and good quality, consistent feedback that is personalised and tailored to the individual and which includes links to helpful ‘feedforward’ resources, we are seeing an increase in students better reaching their potential.

As a Team, we are working to ensure that this excellent practice is represented throughout all modules in the Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching.”

Feedback from Students

“I found the marking rubric very helpful to see how I met the criteria for each LO (Learning Outcome) and for what I need to be more careful with in the future.”

“The rubric is very clear and helpful.  Being presented as a grid means it’s easy to read and can be used as a checklist when reading through assignments before submitting.  The feedback is really detailed and helpful. I know now what I need to focus on to improve my next one!”

“I found the marking rubric very useful as it clearly outlines what needs to be covered within the assignment.  I could also find the little fine details within the marking rubric too, even the formatting.  The feedback I found very useful too.  In fact I would like to email my appreciation.  Overall the feedback was very good as it broke down everything that needs to be improved on, whilst also highlighting the excellent bits from the assignment.  Although the feedback was “savage”, I understand it has to be to help us as writers improve. Thank you.”

“I thought that the feedback was very useful I keep looking back at it then looking at my report to see what I can improve.  It was very helpful and hopefully next time I improve in them areas.  Many Thanks.”

“The rubric gave me lots of confidence as I was able to easily see what my strengths were.  Overall, I’m thrilled with the feedback. I’m under a lot of stress at the moment but I’m pleased I’ve still produced a good piece of work.”


This is an example of Assessment guidance and marking rubric, created for PDT1065 – Pupil Engagement and Assessment.  The purpose of the module is to engage students in studying the theory and practice of supporting learning, the assessment of learning and of learner needs and principles of planning to advance learning.  It also provides students with the opportunity to develop their own study skills.   The assessment is a 3250-word report, exploring both formative and summative assessment, reflecting on current practices within a setting and referring to relevant literature on the subject of assessment.


  1. Firstly, determine ‘what exactly are we looking for in this assignment, and how do we make this explicit?’
  2. Break down the module Learning Outcomes against grading criteria to create a rubric which makes it clear
    what the assignment must ‘look like’ to equal a pass, merit, or distinction. 
  3. Communicate this clearly and consistently to students – they will be more likely to achieve better grades.
  4. Make the assessment guidance, and criteria used in marking clear to students in the assignment brief
  5. Advise students to look at the DISTINCTION column of the rubric, and to make this into a To Do list!
  6. In sessions, help students make the connection between the session content and the Learning Outcomes.
  7. Following each session, suggest readings for students to look at in more depth to help strengthen their assignment.
  8. Arrange a Tutor and Learning Development-led session, ‘Understanding your Assignment’.
  9. Ensure consistency across the module team, including partnering with each Associate or HPL staff to talk through the Learning Outcomes, and to explain the ethos behind the use of a marking rubric, i.e. clear guidance and consistency.
  10. You will find that marking to LOs helps with the Tutor as well, as there is clear guidance on where the mark falls.
  11. Overall comments should be positive, detailed, and helpful. Aim to give 2-4 action points (feed-forward), depending on the student and grade.  At the next assignment, ask students to note how they have responded to these points.
  12. On postdate, send an Announcement, offering individual tutorials if clarification is needed on action points.

Feedback from External Examiner

Extract from Summer 2018 Report on PDT1065
Section A2 – Measuring achievement, rigour and fairness:

  • “Assessments are flexible and inclusive and allow for a range of different responses based on the students’ workplaces and experiences.
  • Assessments are tightly and clearly linked to the learning outcomes.
  • The quality and quantity of written feedback to the students is a major strength of this course. As I found last year, feedback is universally positive, detailed and helpful.

In talking to colleagues on the course, it is clear that they feel very strongly that this is an integral part of the process of teaching and supporting their students to the best of their ability.”


Further reading