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Faculty of Business
Engaging Students with Assessment Feedback


The aim of the ESWAF2 project is to enhance student learning by improving student engagement with assessment feedback. Feedback is central to the learning process but research has found that students do not always engage with it. Furthermore, students and staff have different understandings of what feedback 'means', and how they should engage with each other to give and receive it.

The project, launched in early 2005 with the main phase finishing in June 2008, has investigated the influences on student (and staff) engagement with feedback, and providing resources and conceptual frameworks to enable those in Higher Education to enhance student engagement. A further, transferability phase, of the project was completed in March 2009. While the ESWAF2 project has now formally ended, details of its research can be found on these pages.

Our final report on the main phase, which includes the background to the project and the main findings, is here.

Student engagement has been investigated through Case Studies and Cascade Partner Initiatives at a number of institutions. This approach allows us to explore student engagement in a variety of contexts - for example with different methods of delivering feedback, or different institutional constraints. The approach also extends the debate about student engagement to a wider audience. In addition, we have conducted interviews with students and staff in order to ascertain their perceptions of feedback and the feedback process, and we have completed a survey of 1500 students at three institutions. Available reports can be accessed from our Resources page, including the Case Study report.

The 'transferability' phase of the project, which began in July 2008 and ended in March 2009, extended the research  to other disciplines and universities. Twelve colleagues from five universities ran micro- projects in which feedback methods identified as effective in supporting student engagement were implemented and evaluated. More information can be found on our transferability phase page where the final micro- project reports are posted. 

A key objective for the research has been the development of resources for the HE community. These have included a conceptual framework, a literature review, and research findings. The Conceptual Framework which provides a theoretical orientation for our work has been developed in discussion with our partners and interested parties. Details of the literature review and the research findings have been disseminated through a series of workshops and conferences, and will be available in journal articles. Please contact the project team for details of current presentations articles and papers  (see the Contactspage). In addition the FDTL project ran a Feedback Symposium in conjunction with the ASKe CETL (which is also based at Oxford Brookes Business School) in June 2009. Details of the outcome of the Symposium and of the formation of the Osney Grange Group on Feedback (a group of leading experts in the field of assessment and learning) will be available on the ASKe website

The FDTL ESWAF2 project has been an alliance between Oxford Brookes University Business School and two partner institutions: University of Bedfordshire and University of Bradford. It was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) under the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL) at the Higher Education Academy.

If you have any queries about the project please contact Karen Handley, Assistant Director, at or 01865 485968, Jill Millar Project Manager, at or 01865 485418, or any of the project team members shown on the Contacts page.

ASKe (Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange), a Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning funded by HEFCE and based at Oxford Brookes Business School, is continuing to promote good practice on on feedback and assessment. Further information about ASKe can be found by clicking the link in the menu on the left of this page.


  1. Feb 21, 2008

    p0010012 says:

    Inspired by case study 1,  I tried a variant of it out on a brand new and s...

    Inspired by case study 1,  I tried a variant of it out on a brand new and small undergraduate module ( 24 students only) last semester. Students had the option to submit a near final  draft of their course work two weeks before the deadline. I gave them full written feedback which I returned a week later. Then they had another week in which to come and discuss it with me, with appointment times offered, and to re-draft it for final hand in. Almost all participated. It was an enlightening experience. Overall 25% of the students got firsts on this module and those that did so had clearly acted on the interim feedback they were given, and a substantial number - can't remember the proportion offhand - got 2:1's. the most salutary lesson was from the ones that could not be bothered to make any changes or who ignored my suggestions, and the ones who only wanted to pass anyway and once they felt confident that they had done enough ( from the interim feedback) were satisfied that they had done enough and it was not worth the effort to do anymore. Very few - only 4 or 5 - attended appointments to receive oral feedback, so I assume they found the written comments actionable. This is not meant to be negative: the results were great. But it gave me a new insigt into student motivations and how they vary. I had planned not to give written feedback on the final essay, just a mark, but could not prevent myself. If this module is of a similar size next year I will do this again. If it is a lot bigger, I will ask the students to peer review the draft essays in threes in class time, as per my case study with Sarah Quinton, as the prospect of marking and giving feed back twice is rather daunting.

    Teresa Smallbone

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