The National Student Survey [NSS]

Some ideas to enhance results for the feedback questions in the National Student Survey include:

  • Discussing the meaning of feedback with students early in the first year and their role in the process
  • Developing and using a Feedback Calendar
  • Holding organised feedback events during term-time where students bring work and get feedback
  • Renaming some teaching sessions (e.g. tutorials) as feedback meetings
  • An institution-wide campaign to clarify what feedback is and the student role in feedback
  • Use the NSS statements mid-year before the official survey and discuss the results with students


The idea of the feedback calendar or diary is to provide the students with a schedule in advance of all the different kinds of feedback they will receive in a semester or over a unit of study. The calendar would highlight who was providing the feedback (teacher, peers, lab assistants, self-produced), when it would occur and what format it might take (written, group or class discussion, one-to-one conversation, electronic). These categories could be broken down further, for example, written might highlight feedback supplied within a pre-designed proforma or a compiled list of feedback points based on the class responses to a single assignment.
The value of the feedback calendar is:
  • It will help clarify for students the range of feedback opportunities they are exposed to. This may influence how they interpret the NSS
  • It will enable a better examination of the balance of teacher-produced feedback and student-produced feedback. Over an undergraduate degree one would expect students would get more in producing their own feedback if they are to become self-regulated learners
  • It will emphasise to students that they have a key role in feedback processes – as active agents rather than as passive recipients.
  • It will emphasise the important role of feedback in the learning process and in the design of learning activities
  • it would enhance course documentation perhaps allowing students to see the bigger picture
  • Promotes teachers to reflect, to think about how feedback helps students as they learn