Researched Based Tips for Providing Meaningful Feedback

What is feedback?

Feedback is information about how students are doing in their efforts to reach a goal/meet a standard. Good Feedback accomplishes 1) ownership of learning and 2) measurable goal tracking. Effective feedback focuses on the process of learning, compares either previous student performance or is criterion referenced, is detailed and descriptive, holds a supportive tone with suggested action steps. In addition, feedback can "provide cues that capture a person’s attention and help him or her to focus on succeeding with the task; it can direct attention towards the processes needed to accomplish the task; it can provide information about ideas that have been misunderstood; and it can be motivational so that students invest more effort or skill” (The Power of Feedback, Hattie & Timperley 2007).

Feedback should be honest and respectful, with the ultimate goal to improve and encourage. Since online learning does not have face-to-face interactions, these regular comments are extremely valuable to students as a way to make a personal connection. Below is information to help guide you in providing the most effective feedback to your students!

Things to Remember when Giving Feedback

Tools for Giving Feedback

Feedback throughout the duration of a module allows an instructor to promote deeper learning by prompting students to dig deeper and expand and clarify their argument or position while the student in engaged in the learning process. When a final grade comes later in the course session the student is not as receptive to feedback, and often focuses on the grade not the feedback. Instructors that foster depth of learning with real-time feedback along the way, push their students to dig deeper and think more critically. Below is a selection of excellent, user-friendly tools that allow instructors to give meaningful feedback in various ways.

Action Steps for Instructors

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Reflecting on Assessment Feedback

At the beginning of each semester, instructors can review and reflect upon feedback mechanisms desired to use in the course for each major assessment. The following questions can be asked individually or collaboratively with department:

  • What are the course objectives/standards that need mastering? What are the major skills and areas of content, including generic skills, students need to learn?

  • How will these skills be assessed summatively? What assessment tasks will be used to determine whether students have reached the appropriate levels in these areas?

  • What opportunities or activities are provided to allow students to develop these skills before final summative assessment?

  • Is this feedback sufficiently detailed to allow students to achieve the intended learning outcomes of the subject? Is the feedback clear, directional and supportive?

Feedback Examples & Templates

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Examples of Meaningful Feedback Given by Carrie Madden

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