…is a fundamental part of assessment practice. Feedback may be informal or formal, oral or written. The term ‘feeding-forward’ has been coined to illustrate the kind of approach that is most effective in helping learners progress – learners need to know from their feedback what they need to do next time no matter how well they have achieved.
« The ‘praise sandwich’ is a useful model to follow – start with something positive, provide constructive criticism, follow with further praise. The ratio is important here – twice as much praise as criticism.
« Geoff Petty uses the idea of ‘A Medal and a Mission’ in feedback – so learners receive praise for the good aspects of their work, clear goals for next time, and guidance about how to achieve these. For more, click here: http://www.geoffpetty.com/feedback.html
« On assignment or workbook scripts, a short phrase explaining why something is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ is much more helpful than just the words themselves.
« Avoid over marking – getting a piece of work back that is covered in marks and comments may be overwhelming for some learners. It may well be more effective to point out once that a learner needs to check how to use an apostrophe than circle every error, if that involves littering the page with marks.
« Point out to learners how they have met the assessment criteria in their work.
« Feedback on drafts can be helpful, but some learners grow over reliant on this process. Check the relevant accrediting bodies rules on drafts, (some specify how many drafts may be submitted) but in addition consider ways to provide feedback that avoids undermining learners’ independence – for example, comment on one draft only; direct learners towards sources of information rather than providing answers; draw attention to errors in grammar and punctuation rather than correcting it.
« Point learners in the right direction rather than just correcting their work.
« Feedback needs to be timely if learners are to use it productively. Sometimes learners don’t understand that tutors have a variety of tasks to do, so expect to have work marked immediately. It can be helpful to manage learners’ expectations if you are clear about when they should expect to receive their feedback, and explain, if there is any reason why this will be delayed.
« If you are providing oral feedback for a piece of work, allow the learner some time first of all to say how well they think they have done, or what they enjoyed or found challenging.
« Think about ways of providing other forms of feedback, for example, learners could provide feedback to one another for some tasks, if given some guidance about how to do so constructively.
« Think about how often you give oral feedback to learners for activities in class, such as answering questions, or group work. For example, it’s possible to comment on how well a group have worked, or praise someone for trying to answer a question, even if the answer isn’t perfect.
For more practical ideas on feedback from Alison Hramiak of Sheffield Hallam University, click here: http://escalate.ac.uk/4147