Undergraduate student perceptions of assessment and feedback practice: fostering agency and dialogue

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Assessment and feedback practices sit at the heart of education and the student experience. This paper reports on undergraduate perceptions of assessment and feedback in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, UK. Twenty-eight first and second year students across six focus groups provided comments on their understanding of feedback, their feedback experiences, and what they felt could be improved. It was clear that students desired feedback that would help them improve summative performance, but were unsure of how best to use it and consequently had high expectations that led to dissatisfaction. Particular concern was expressed about marking and feedback consistency, and the inherent variation in practice they experienced. Many comments indicated a lack of student agency, which may reflect the power relations that students find themselves in within their community of practice. Finding ways of fostering agency and improving dialogue over perceptions and expectations are suggested to be important steps in improving assessment and feedback practice, and student satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-485
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Early online date1 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019


  • Assessment
  • agency
  • feedback
  • focus groups
  • mark inconsistency


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