This article reports the findings of research into the student experience of assessment in school/college and Higher Education and the impact of transition upon student perceptions of feedback quality. It involved a qualitative study of 23 staff and 145 students in six schools/colleges and three English universities across three disciplines. Results show that students experience a radically different culture of feedback in schools/colleges and Higher Education: the former providing extensive formative feedback and guidance; the latter focusing upon independent learning judged summatively. Students perceived quality feedback as part of a dialogic guidance process rather than a summative event. We propose a model: the Dialogic Feedback Cycle, to describe student experiences at school/college and suggest how it can be used as a tool to scaffold the development of independent learning throughout the first year of university study.