Supporting your students

Supporting your students to understand the marks, grade, and feedback they receive is crucial to their on-going learning and skills development. This develops students’ feedback literacy. Some students can be quite mark-oriented and the challenge is to focus as much on feedback and improvement as they do on marks. Ongoing academic support helps students to make this transition.

How to support your students

Some ways to support students in understanding the marking before they submit their assessment include:

  • Discuss the rubric or marking criteria when presenting the assessment task. This can be done in class, or via a short video. 
    • Use it to highlight the P and HD criteria and some key differences between them
    • Use it to highlight common issues in previous student submissions, or common errors
    • Highlight how the rubric criteria align with unit and task learning outcomes, and the relative weightings of criteria.
  • Provide opportunities for students to ask questions about the rubric or marking criteria. This can either be time in class (orally or via a polling tool or chat), or via a forum. Ensure questions are answered in a timely manner, and that all students and staff have access to both the questions and the answers.
  • Avoid making changes to the task or marking criteria once released, and if changes are made at a late stage,  they should not disadvantage those who have been working with the existing rubric.If an error is detected that makes changes unavoidable, ensure the update is announced to all students and staff, with changes highlighted and easily identifiable, as well as providing the rationale for the change. Best practice is to include the date of revision in the document and filename.
  • Remind students about the rubric or marking criteria close to the submission date for the task - show them how to use it as a checklist for their own work.
  • Develop tasks where students provide peer feedback to each other based on the rubric or marking criteria before the final submission. Ensure sufficient support and/or scaffolding is provided to allow students to develop these important skills in giving and responding to feedback.
  • Remind tutors and markers to refer students to learning advisers for academic assistance and support.
Some ways to support students in understanding the marking after they submit their assessment include:
  • Provide constructive feedback within the assessment.
  • Shift the focus away from grades and marks. It is important in all discussions about tasks to emphasise learning and skill development over grades. For example:
    • Instead of saying “An HD student would do…”
      Say “A student who has mastered the… would do…”
    • Instead of saying “In this example that scored 85%...”
      Say “In this example the student effectively demonstrated…”
    • Instead of saying “To get an HD in this assessment task you need to…”
      Say “to ensure you have a meaningful understanding of…. you need to…”

What resources and services are available to students

The marking process is often the time when skill deficits become most apparent. A student may appear to be doing well, but a struggle with understanding content, academic processes and conventions, academic and/or English language, or key practical skills may only come to light when a submission or performance is marked. The following services can assist students with specific requirements:

Student Academic Success: Learning and Language Support

Encourage students to seek advice from  learning and language support about understanding the assessment task. Students can make appointments or attend a drop-in session with a Learning Adviser who can assist them with interpreting and analysing the requirements of assessments. They can also learn about time management, including managing multiple assessment tasks across the semester.

Student Academic Success: Individual consultants with learning advisers

Share this link with students so that they can book in with a learning adviser to gain personal support on how to prepare for timed assessments.

Research and Learning Online: Research and writing for assignments

This site provides guidance on everything from research to writing, analysing to arguing. You will learn to meet the requirements and even improve your marks.

When students fail

For some students, receiving a fail grade, or even a mark that is lower than expected, can be very upsetting. In high-stakes situations (such as where grades may affect a student’s ability to enter a subsequent course), students may experience significant distress. It is important to be aware of this and to ensure students receive (as a minimum) information about appropriate support.

Health and wellbeing: Counselling service

Share this link for counselling services so that students can obtain additional support around a number of issues from managing motivation, coping with stress and/or anxiety, prioritisation and managing perfectionism. This is a free service for Monash students.

Assessment and results: Special consideration processes

Share this link to let students know how to apply for special consideration that may allow them to obtain an extension, create another assessment, or sit a deferred exam. Monash provides Special Consideration for students who are experiencing exceptional circumstances beyond their control that affect their ability to successfully complete assessment tasks.


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