I'm in the process of finalising my exam for my unit in second semester (based in Australia).

The exam will have 3 essay questions out of a total of 6 that students will receive prior to the exam. They will be asked to prepare responses to these 6 essay questions, but only 3 will appear on the exam (originally I had wanted to do 3/10 as a former professor of mine had done, but was asked to reduce this to 6).

These exams will be assessed against a qualitative rubric with no comments provided.

Other than considering faculty rules/procedures regarding whether or not students can receive feedback from formal examinations (which I still need to inquire about):

  • Are there any downsides in providing students qualitative rubrics from their formal exams after final marks have been posted?
  • Does the term/nature of a 'Formal Exam' mean that students should not receive feedback?

(As a side note my course has to have an exam as its listed in the 2015 handbook, but next year this has been removed to be 100% in-class assessment).

2 Answers 2


One potential drawback comes to mind: if you release the rubrics and/or each student's assessment against these rubrics (it's a bit unclear to me which one you want to do), you will open the gates wide to long, tiresome discussions.

If students don't know the rubrics against which their work is assessed, they will have a harder time arguing that "obviously they addressed this topic, so they should get full points."

(I'm not arguing against releasing rubrics and/or assessments just to reduce the teacher's workload. I'm pointing out a potential downside. I'd still argue that releasing at least the rubrics makes sense to help students improve. Just be prepared for discussions. A small percentage of students can be very tenacious in such discussions and appear to spend more time disputing their grade after the exam than preparing before.)

  • Rubrics will be released prior to the exam. I guess the upside is that I'm only on a contract that finishes the 18th of December, so should students want long/tiresome discussions...they wouldn't be able to get a hold of me!
    – awsoci
    May 7, 2015 at 6:53

Actually, you shouldn't require the students to do anything for which they receive no feedback at all. Even the best students need a bit of confirmation that what they have done is good.

But you don't need to release the rubric for the exam if the scale required for giving feedback is reasonable. For students writing on paper, a note on the paper itself is good, provided that the papers are returned to the students.

In other cases an individual email with a few comments is fine. You can even prepare a lot of those comments in advance or as you grade, so that you can just use copy/paste to write a lot of them.

But learning requires both practice and feedback. That is why professional athletes still use coaches.

  • Also requires understanding the feedback and acting on it...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 9, 2019 at 14:16

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