Seven Feedback Principles
Feedback helps students learn, but formative feedback is a continuous process that scaffolds learning. Formative feedback promotes self-reflection that aids the learning process. According to Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick (2005), there are seven feedback principles for best practice in good formative, self-regulated learning.
- Clarify what good performance is.
- Facilitate self-assessment.
- Deliver high-quality feedback information.
- Encourage teacher and peer dialogue.
- Encourage positive motivation and self-esteem.
- Provide opportunities to close the gap.
- Use feedback to improve teaching.
There is another form of feedback called feedforward.
What is the difference between feedback and feedforward? Feedback provides insight into past assignments but sometimes is lacking helpful tips on how to improve future work. This may also come across as negative. Some teachers have tried different techniques to provide positive and negative feedback so students do not feel discouraged. However, feedback often still does not provide a true reflective opportunity for learning without judgment going forward.
“The most efficacious teaching strategies employed in a feedforward approach include the use of exemplars, explicit composing processes and self, and peer assessment” (Baker & Zuvela, 2013, p. 688).
Providing your students with specific, timely feedback/feedforward helps them learn from past performance and improve for the future. Read Faculty Focus: What Fitness Bands Can Teach Us about Classroom Assessment. for more information on shifting our thinking from assessment “of” learning to assessment and feedback “for” learning.
Good, Better, Best
Feedback should be clear, concrete, and address the subject matter content as well as academic writing skills. Ensure that your comments are more substantive than “good job on your paper” and “add more references.” These comments are vague and do not provide enough information for the student to make improvements.
Instructors should provide layered feedback that 1) provides a positive statement concerning what was done well, 2) identifies areas that need improvement, and 3) provides a closing statement that encourages or motivates students. Ensure that your comments are written with correct grammar and spelling. Instructors should model the behavior they want to see from their students.
Here are three feedback examples that illustrate these principles.
This is a very well thought out submission. I like that you provide examples that show relevance to the current topic. You may also want to include a link to a resource that validates your conclusion and correct APA citations.
This is a very well thought out submission Caleb. I can tell that you have learned from your previous submissions and applied the feedback you have been given. I like that you provide examples so that the reader understands your explanation. You may also want to include a link to a resource that validates your conclusions and correct APA citation. You are clear in your descriptions while also maintaining a positive tone.
This is a very well thought out submission Caleb. I can tell that you have learned from your previous submissions and applied the feedback you have been given. I like that you provide examples so that the reader understands your explanations. You may also want to include a link to a resource that validates your conclusion and correct APA citation. It is important that credit is given to the proper source for any information you have used in your research. You are clear in your descriptions while also maintaining a positive tone.
Gives specific feedback regarding response, additional recommendations for a better score.
Uses the student’s name, gives extensive specific feedback regarding response, additional recommendations are given, positive tone.
Used the student’s name, extensive personalized and specific feedback, suggestions for improvement made, positive tone.
Plana-Erta, D., Moya, S., & Simo, P. (2016). The effectiveness of instructor personalized and formative feedback provided by the instructor in an online setting: Some unresolved issues. Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 14(3), 196-203. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/1819069254 (requires login)
Review the following resources:
- 5 Research-Based Tips for Providing Students with Meaningful Feedback
- Best Methods and Tools for Online Educators to Give Students Helpful and Meaningful Feedback
- Faculty Focus: Feedback Strategies for Online Courses
Baker, D. & Zuvela, D. (2013). Feedforward strategies in the first-year experience of online and distributed learning environments}}. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 38(7), 687-697.
Buchanan, K. (2015, July 22). What fitness bands can teach us about classroom assessment. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/what-fitness-bands-can-teach-us-about-classroom-assessment/
Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2005). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education 31(7), 199-218.
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