Feedback for Students

Feedback is an essential part of getting the most from your physics degree. As a student, you will receive feedback from us on every piece of assessed work. This may take the form of a written note on your problem sheet script, going through problems in tutorials, a handout, example questions and solutions (which you can compare with to check your working), peer marking, self-marking or a discussion with your tutor or a laboratory demonstrator. These are all types of formative assessment that give students guidance and information on how they are doing on the course and how they could improve.  Formative assessment also informs teaching staff on well students are doing and helps them adapt their teaching to the learning needs of the students.  Students are encouraged to reflect on the feedback being given to them at every opportunity, to understand how to improve and make progress.

There are also a number of places to get further academic feedback during your time here as a physics student:

  • Office Hours: all lecture courses will have associated office hours. Here you can speak to the lecturer running the course to get one-on-one feedback. These are a great place to improve your understanding of course content.
  • Personal Tutorials: these should happen at least once per term. We strongly encourage students to build a good relationship with their personal tutors. Your personal tutors will be able to provide feedback and will be willing to talk about your progress at any time. Students should contact their personal tutors to arrange a meeting.
  • Exam Feedback: lecturers are asked to provide feedback on the exams for their course. This will happen for all examinations. Expect these to be released in July or early August. See the section further down this page for more information.

The college has a policy on academic feedback. The Physics Department supports this policy and will actively work to meet its aims. More detail for assessment in each year is given below:

Key feedback points

Year 1

In Year 1 students will be given feedback at various points and by various people during the year. These will include:

  • Academic Tutorials - students can ask the lead tutor or the teaching assistant for further feedback on their work (e.g. Assessed Problem Sheets) or ask wider questions about the subject.
  • Laboratory and Computing - students are provided with written feedback on their submitted work and have the opportunity to receive feedback whilst in the lab or computer suite.
  • Professional Skills - students can get feedback on CV writing, their Topical Review and problem solving skills during tutorials specifically run for professional skills exercises.
  • Christmas Test - assessment and feedback is provided through peer marking and discussion as students mark each other’s work.
  • Projects - work closely with other students and a project supervisor to produce a project and display presentation. Asking for, reflecting and putting in practice the feedback from both supervisors and your peers is essential to succeeding with the project work.

If students are not happy with their academic feedback during their first year, they are encouraged to let their personal tutor, Head of Year 1 or Student Liaison Officer know about it.


Year 2

In Year 2 students will be given feedback at various points and by various people during the year. These will include:

  • Academic Tutorials - students can ask the lead tutor or the teaching assistant for feedback on their work (e.g. Assessed Problem Sheets) or ask wider questions about the subject.
  • Laboratory and Computing - students can expect feedback on their submitted work and will also have the opportunity to receive feedback whilst in the laboratory or computer suite.
  • Professional Skills - after two lectures early in Term 2, students can get feedback on future career plans by speaking to a member of the careers team or their personal tutor
  • Scientific Article - students are given written feedback on their article

If students are not happy with their academic feedback during their second year, they are encouraged to let the Head of Year 2 or Student Liaison Officer know about it.


Year 3

In Year 3 students will be given feedback at various points and by various people during the year. These will include:

  • Academic Tutorials - these focus on preparing for the Comprehensive Examinations. All students will have weekly tutorials. Feedback will be provided as students work through problems during the tutorial, but this is also a good time to raise questions about core material that might still be unclear.
  • Laboratory - students can expect feedback on their submitted lab work. Each experiment will have a lead academic and a number of demonstrators on hand to provide feedback as students work in the lab.
  • Projects and Essays - students can expect feedback from their project or essay supervisor.
  • Professional Skills - students can expect feedback on their work and presenatations from a number staff working on the Year 3 Professional Skills course.
  • Computational Physics, Complexity & Networks and Instrumentation are FHEQ Level 6 courses and normally taken in year 3. All have a continuously assessed component that will be marked and have feedback associated with it.

We have a separate section for F309 students on their year abroad.

If students are not happy with their academic feedback during their third year, they are encouraged to let the Head of Year 3/4 or Student Liaison Officer know about it.


Year 4

In Year 4 students will be given feedback at various points and by various people during the year. These will include:

  • MSci Projects - students should have regular meetings with their supervisors to get verbal one to one feedback on their progress.
  • Research Interfaces - this is a core course and is 100% coursework. There are a number places to get direct verbal feedback from staff members working on this course
  • Rapid Feedback - these one hour sessions are linked to a number of theory options. A demonstrator will work though problems on the board, but students are encouraged to actively engage by asking the demonstrator questions and discussing with their fellow students to get peer feedback.

If students are not happy with their academic feedback during their fourth year, they are encouraged to let the Head of Year 3/4 or Student Liaison Officer know about it.


Exam Feedback

Examinations are a type of summative assessment, used to evaluate student learning and achievement over the academic year.  All lecturers provide general examination feedback for their course. This general feedback highlights common themes in the paper that students either did well or did poorly.  These feedback reports are made available to all students to read.  A good example of this type of general examination feedback is provided by Jonathan Eastwood for the 2017 Space Physics exam.

The Physics Department does not currently provide access to exam scripts.