What Makes Feedback Effective?

In this blog, you can explore preliminary findings from over 1000 students in our most recent 2015 study “From Here to There: How Students Use Feedback.”

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Since our most recent study, “Instructor Writ Large: Student Perceptions on Effective Feedback,” we are continuing the investigation into the effectiveness of feedback with our latest survey, which is currently out and collecting data from students. This questionnaire delves more deeply into how students interact with feedback. Here are some intriguing, preliminary results we are seeing:

Surprisingly, 47% of students claim to read 100% of the feedback they receive. But only 21% claim to use all of it towards revising their work. And only 8.5% say they understand all of it.

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Also, the following percentages of students claim that the following barriers often or always stand in their way of using feedback:

  • Other priorities: 26%
  • Receiving feedback too late: 25%
  • Finding feedback not helpful: 22%
  • Difficulty in understanding feedback: 19%
  • Lack of Motivation: 19%


We will release a preliminary analysis of these results and a literature review of existing research by April, so please stay tuned as we uncover some interesting findings! In the meantime, download our white papers on feedback for more information on the types of marginal comments instructors provide in Turnitin and what students are saying about the feedback they receive from instructors.




See Related
White Paper: From the Margins - What Instructors Say on Student Papers
White Paper: Closing the Gap - What Students Say About Instructor Feedback
White Paper: Student Perceptions on Effective Feedback


About the Authors

Sean Tupa is the Education Program Manager at Turnitin. Previously, he had worked in various capacities for the College Board, including the roles of Director of Research for the Digital Solutions department and as a Director with the Innovation & Concept Development team. In these positions he conducted research projects, focus groups and surveys with both students and educators to help identify challenges and solutions in the world of education. Sean received his Bachelors degree in Philosophy and History from Hiram College.



Kenneth Balibalos is a Marketing Associate at Turnitin. He is developing the Turnitin Educator Network to connect educators to each other and support them at their institution. He regularly chats with educators and works alongside them to develop instructional resources. He also posts on social media and supports other customer programs. He will be moderating this webcast.