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Student doing examAll students want to know how to be successful in their units of study.

  • Decode assessment titles and guidance - e.g. What is meant by critical evaluation? Or how does 'evaluate' differ from 'analyse'? Or how might students demonstrate critical analysis in their work?
  • Explaining how their language skills will impact their assessment is important - what aspects will be assessed and the marks allocated/deducted for them.
  • Providing explicit marking criteria in advance helps international students to self evaluate before submitting their work.
  • International students benefit from more feedback particularly early in their degrees to calibrate their understanding of expectations and standards in the Business School.
  • You may want to use online feedback as a tool to capture self-evaluation and provide deeper feedback.
  • Discuss different forms of feedback and how they can be used to improve learning.
  • Consider preparing generic feedback as a podcast/recorded presentation.


Some assignment questions advantage one group of students over another. Fairness implies that this difference should be as small as possible. Clear explanations and varied assessment methods help to increase fairness for all.

Assessment methods are rich in cultural understanding of key outcomes. Implying rather than explaining what is expected leaves international students to guess the key meaning of the assessment rather than being able to focus on their learning.


  • Introduce formative assessment opportunities before major assignments. Submissions can be in a form of drafts, reading summaries, or key arguments. In some instances peer feedback may prove very valuable. Blackboard has a capability of organising anonymous peer review online.
  • Sharing work from previous students with the class (with the permission of those students) helps in understanding what is expected. An effective exercise is to ask students to grade previous papers in pairs and their grades are then compared with the actual grades given.
  • Introducing early/continuous assessment tasks allows for feedback at a point when changes and improvements are still possible.
  • Demonstrate to students how they might improve their work by looking at given feedback. This can be done by a discussion in class, or by preparing a podcast/recorded presentation. When possible, getting other students to explain their use of feedback can be very powerful.

Further resources