Using Turnitin/Grademark for effective feedback with business and management students.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The provision of online assessment and feedback has received considerable academic attention in recent years, building on the significant body of literature relating to the need for higher educational institutions to provide more effective quality feedback. Researchers such as Heinrich et al (2006) have argued for the use of specialist software such as Turnitin and GradeMark for assessing essay-type work. Burrows and Shortis reviewed a number of online marking and feedback systems and concluded that Turnitin/GradeMark provided users with a “comprehensive assignment annotation functionality which was not present in other marking and feedback tools” (2011: 11). Henderson supports these findings stating that “GradeMark automates some of the marking process, is tied to the student’s work and is much quicker than hand writing the same comments over and over again” (2008: 11.2). The benefits of electronic feedback identified by Venables et al (2012) include reduced marking time, improved accuracy and consistency, higher quality, timelier feedback, improved student satisfaction and improved student learning. These benefits relate directly to the seven principles of good assessment and feedback practice as identified by Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006).This project involved the provision of electronic feedback via the Turnitin/GradeMark tool in Blackboard Learn+ (BB) for students taking business and management modules at levels 4 (L4) and 6 (L6) (UK qualifications and credit framework (QCF)). The project was conducted in the Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, academic year 2013-14. Staff provided summative feedback on an individual essay using GradeMark and annotated marked work was made available to students through Turnitin. Students were informed of the post date of feedback and staff could identify those students who had or had not reviewed their feedback, allowing follow up with an email. Students received feedback on their academic writing style via the Turnitin plagiarism software and qualitative comments, assessment and mark through the GradeMark annotation features. Subsequent project evaluation consisted of a survey of 113 undergraduate business studies students undertaking a L4 module (n=77) and L6 module (n=36) respectively. The survey consisted of two classification questions and a combination of 17 closed/open quantitative and qualitative questions. The quantitative data was analysed with SPSS and thematic analysis was used to identify themes from the qualitative responses. This study found that on the whole students favoured electronic online feedback over traditional written feedback, citing a range of perceived benefits including ease of access, flexibility and convenience, the level of personalisation, timeliness, clarity, quality and quantity of feedback, the ability to re-access and review again and its ability to help improve academic writing style and facilitate feed-forward learning. The study also highlighted that students would like to see further use of online feedback in other aspects of their courses. However, some technical issues were also identified which provided some useful guidance and recommendations on how future adoption and implementation of the technology might be enhanced. This project relates directly to the broad themes of this learning, teaching and student experience conference and specifically to the sub-theme of assessment and feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherChartered Association of Business Schools
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2015
EventThe Association of Business Schools Annual Learning and Teaching Conference - York
Duration: 1 Jan 2015 → …


ConferenceThe Association of Business Schools Annual Learning and Teaching Conference
Period1/01/15 → …


  • Turnitin/Grademark
  • assessment
  • electronic feedback


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