This article discusses issues relating to the effectiveness of feedback and the student perspective. The study described provides rich data relating to student perceptions of useful feedback, their perceptions of feedback cues and their feelings about the importance of feedback relationships in the process. The outcomes suggest that written feedback is often not the most effective tool for helping students to improve their learning. The students in this study had much broader perceptions of useful feedback. Their perceptions challenge some of the assumptions that might be seen to underpin auditing approaches to monitoring the quality of feedback such as that of the National Student Survey.