7 Principles of Feedback

Decorative: The word "Feedback" with overlapping (empty) speech bubbles above it


"7 Good Feedback Principles" (post) outlines "seven principles of good feedback practice."

  • Each point is developed more fully in the text. 

1. "Clarify what good performance is"

  • "Students can only achieve learning goals if they understand those goals, assume some ownership of them, and can assess progress."
  • Without these, "the feedback information they receive is unlikely to ‘connect.’"

2. "Facilitate self-assessment"

  • "[P]rovide [students] with opportunities to practise regulating aspects of their own learning and to reflect on that practice." 
  • "[E]ngage students in both identifying standards/criteria that will apply to their work (see principle 1) and in making judgements about how their work relates to these standards."

3. "Deliver high-quality feedback information"

a. Instructors "have a central role in developing their students’ own capacity for self-regulation ...[and] are also a crucial source of external feedback."

  • Instructors "are much more effective in identifying misconceptions in students’ work than the students/peers themselves" -- though peer assessment may be useful as well. 

b. Specific "strategies [may] include" the following:

  • "[M]aking sure that feedback is provided in relation to pre-defined criteria"
  • "[P]roviding timely feedback"
  • "[P]roviding corrective advice"
  • "[L]imiting the amount of feedback so that it is actually used"
  • "[P]rioritising areas for improvement"
  • "[P]roviding online tests so that feedback can be accessed anytime"

4. "Encourage teacher and peer dialogue"

  • "[C]onceptualise feedback more as dialogue rather than as information transmission."
  • "[I]ncrease feedback dialogue" by "structur[ing] small group break-out discussions or offer[ing] ‘show me whiteboards’ or thumbs up/down."

5. "Encourage positive motivation and self-esteem"

  • "Frequent high stakes assessment (where marks or grades are given) has a ‘negative impact on motivation for learning that [hinders] lifelong learning.’"
  • "[M]otivation and self-esteem are more likely to be enhanced when a curriculum has many low-stakes assessment tasks, with feedback geared to providing information about progress and achievement."

6. "Provide opportunities to close the gap" 

a. "[F]eedback provides an opportunity to close a gap between current performance and the performance expected." 

  • This "support[s] students while [they are] engaged in the act of production of a piece of work (e.g. essays, presentations)." 
  • "[I]t ... provid[es] opportunities to repeat the same ‘task-performance-external feedback cycle’ by, for example, allowing resubmission."
  • "The act of production requires intrinsic feedback that students can use whilst engaged in a task."

b. "[S]ome specific strategies to help students":

  • "[P]rovide feedback on work in progress and increase opportunities for resubmission"
  • "[I]ntroduce two-stage assignments where feedback on stage one helps improve stage two"
  • "[M]odel the strategies" you want the students to implement/apply
  • "[P]rovide some ‘action points’ alongside the normal feedback"
  • "[I]nvolve students in groups in identifying their own action points"

7. "Use feedback to improve teaching"

  • "[G]ood data about how students are progressing ... can help [instructors] generate cumulative information about students’ levels of understanding and skill."
  • This allows you to "adapt [your] teaching accordingly."
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