Higher Education Research


Assessment and Feedback in Higher Education: A Review of Literature for the Higher Education Academy

Publication Date



Educational assessment, Student assessment, Higher education, Feedback, Peer evaluation, Self evaluation (Individuals), Frameworks, Standards, Formative assessment, Summative assessment


This literature review has been undertaken for the Higher Education Academy (HEA). It explores recent scholarly contributions in the area of assessment and feedback in higher education (HE). The report is structured as follows. The introduction provides some background and a context for the approach taken to developing this review and the ‘lens’ through which the review was undertaken. The review then comprises three broad sections: ‘The fundamentals’ – a section that explores the significant principles underpinning best practice in assessment. Drawing on the HEA’s Transforming Assessment Framework, this section expands the reach of these ideas based on areas identified through the literature. Essentially, this section explores the following research question: ‘What key elements are highlighted in the literature as fundamental to the development of assessment in higher education that is high quality and improves student learning?’ ‘Practice and innovations’ – an exploration of recent literature that demonstrates the kinds of assessment practice currently being undertaken in higher education and links this application to the concepts discussed in the previous section of the review. This section is guided by the research question: ‘How are the fundamentals of assessment manifested in recent literature on assessment in higher education?’ In addressing this question, a number of key areas of literature are explored. The most significant in terms of recent attention in the literature are feedback and peer-review/self-review, and these are described in detail. Topics such as technology, summative assessment, and the use of psychometrics are also explored. The section finishes with a brief outline of other emerging trends in practice identified in the literature; ‘Reflections and setting directions’ – this section summarises the gaps in current literature identified by the authors, particularly in relation to gaps previously identified in work of the HEA through the A Marked Improvement (HEA 2012) report. The discussion begins with the identified gaps, and then includes reflections on trends in the literature relating to emerging principles and future directions.

Place of Publication

Heslington UK


Higher Education Academy