Research-informed guidelines for the development of Adaptively-Released Assessment Feedback (ARAF) strategies in higher education

Assessment feedback has the potential to significantly impact on learning; this can be in the form of quantitative or qualitative feedback, or both. While assessment feedback is intended to provide students with insight into how their learning has progressed against learning outcomes, exploratory research into the impact of assessment feedback has found that students pay more heed to numeric grades than qualitative comments, despite the latter having more potential to positively impact learning.
This paper reports on a project, funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), to determine the impact of feedback strategies on students’ learning. Academic staff and students' perspectives were sought about the manner in which assessment feedback was provided to establish the impact feedback had on learning.
This study considered differentiated types of assessment feedback and the way in which they were distributed, to determine the quality of students' post-assessment learning and students’ ability to reflect on past learning to enhance future learning. The potential of Adaptively-Released Assessment Feedback (ARAF) strategies was considered for the purpose of engaging both lecturers and students in assessment for and assessment as—rather than assessment of—learning.