How do I give Effective Feedback to Students?

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Check Out the New Blog Taking the time to provide feedback to students helps them understand what they were not able to master.Contrary to popular belief, the process of grading students is not idealy complete even after the assessments have been graded. Teachers need to take time to meet with students and talk about the assessment, to provide feedback to students and help them understand why the question was wrong or right.

We also want to know if the student actually knows the answers. Students often guess some of the answers and get them right. This is not acceptable in today’s atmosphere of higher accountability for students, teachers, and parents. Teachers need to know, what students know is truly what they know.

We must prepare to reshape our instruction based on student data for “reteaching” purposes. Our feedback to students must be clear to them and in many respects, also in their terms.

Be strategic in conveying your feedback and most importantly be positive, not negative. Keep in mind that the purpose of your feedback to students is to assist them in learning the information that they did not yet master.

For example, if you are a history teacher and a student did not understand the causes of World War I based on the data you gathered from the assessment and your meeting, then your feedback should:

  • Tell the student they do not understand the causes of World War I;
  • Tell the student where they can locate the causes of World War I and where in their notes the information is located;
  • and most importantly, when the student will be reassessed.

Feedback shared with a student should not be in “code” and should never be vague.

Students must be informed why they did not master the material and what specifically they need to know in order to master the material.

Learn Moreā€¦ Take this course: Formative Assessment

Discuss Here: What are some ways in which you provide feedback to students in your classroom?

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2 Responses to “How do I give Effective Feedback to Students?”
  1. Nina Smith says:

    Sorry, but I fail to understand how this example of feedback was modelling the positive approach of providing timely and accurate feedback that supports learning process. It appears to be an ordinary ” you failed, study this and perform better in the future” – approach that promotes passing instead of learning.
    In order to provide effective feedback you need to use the learning objective as a framework to align students’ expectations of the assessment with the ones you have (instead of telling them how they don’t understand the causes of a war), and then focus on the positive parts of the process/product to create an idea of what a successfully passed assignment looks like. After that you can ask open ended questions from student to see if s/he understood you, and if they know where to find the information needed, because telling students what to do never helps them to use their own thinking skills. And after making sure s/he knows what to do you should ask for her/his plan for improvement, because this increases the idea of holding students accountable over their own learning. This type of feedback is not only positive, but also emotionally safe (non-threatening), it promotes deep learning (i.e. learning the content, not just passing the assessment) and also builds cooperation and thinking skills via teacher-student interactions. I would be happy to provide more information about focused and effective feedback.

  2. Thanks Nina! What you say makes sense.

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