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Education Quality and Policy Office


This page outlines what feedback students can reasonably expect to receive about their academic performance and progression:

See types of assessment for further information about formative and summative assessment.

A document with ideas for good practice is also provided: feedback on academic performance and progression


Throughout the course (feedback on formative assessment)

Students can expect to seek and receive:

  • feedback in supervisions which identifies their strengths and weaknesses and provide practical guidance to enable them to improve their academic performance;
  • access to their supervision reports online via the web-based CamCORS system;
  • meetings with their Director of Studies (for undergraduate students) at the start and/or end of each Term to discuss progress;
  • feedback on submitted work in time to inform subsequent assignments;
  • feedback which gives them a sense of how they are performing relative to the rest of the cohort.


After formal assessment (feedback on summative assessment)

Feedback to individual students

Feedback is usually provided by College Tutors or Directors of Studies when discussing undergraduate examination performance. Students can expect to receive:

  • access to their examination marks online via CamSIS, the web-based student record system;
  • marks for each examination ‘unit’ (paper, oral, practical, dissertation etc);
  • an indication of their position within the cohort.

Students are encouraged to keep supervision reports together with examination transcripts and records of extra-curricular activities.

Exam scripts are not returned to students because the primary function of exams is to judge performance rather than to aid future learning which can be better served through formative assessment methods.

The Data Protection Act enables students to request other data about their examination performance (e.g. minutes of Examiners’ meetings), with the exception of their examination script, provided that the data has been retained by the Examiners, Faculty or Department. For further information please see General Board guidance on examinations data and scripts.

Feedback to the entire cohort

The general comments of External Examiners can form useful feedback to students on the cohort's performance and provide pointers for improvement for future candidates. The General Board requires Faculty Boards and equivalent bodies to make External Examiners' reports and any response to them available to students. Comments that may be attributed to individual students will need to be removed.

Similarly, internal examiners' reports can contribute to this feedback. Comments from examiners about the cohort's performance as a whole can provide information to help candidates improve their performance. This can be most clearly communicated to students if reports address issues on a question-by-question basis.

For further information see the section on Examiners' reports.


On graduating

Students receive a formal transcript of their examination performance which will normally include:

  • the class (if appropriate);
  • a total mark for the examination;
  • marks for each element of the examination (papers, portfolios of work, dissertations etc).

More information about the student transcript can be found on the Cambridge Students website, Degree Certificates and Transcripts pages.