Feedback is something that tells you if you’re on the right track or not. In a nutshell, feedback is information provided on the performance or understanding of a task which can then be used to improve this performance or understanding. Feedback helps to close the gap between actual performance and intended performance. There are a multitude of different types of feedback and we encounter many of these in our everyday lives.
Feedback can come from a diverse variety of sources as well. Feedback doesn’t need to be formal. In fact, some feedback is very informal and we hardly recognize it for what it is. Feedback has a powerful influence on learning and in particular on deep engagement with content. If we would like our students to have a full understanding of a task and gain skills they can use in the future and transfer to other tasks, then effective feedback on learning is crucial.
For a fuller understanding of the nature of feedback and closing the gap between actual performance and intended performance, we need to explore the different purposes, types, and levels of feedback and ask three important questions:
The first question is about the learning goals: ‘What did I do well?’
The second question that has to be answered is: ‘What do I need to improve?’ Learners need to know how the current performance relates to the learning goals.
Finally, learners will ask: ‘How do I improve?’ What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?
The use of feedback is regarded as one of the most powerful strategies to improve student achievement and you may or may not be aware of just how much attention it receives in education policy and practice. As we explore effective feedback, I want you to reflect on ways feedback has influenced you in your own learning journey.
Four common, key conditions for effective feedback are evident from research:
Let’s have a look at each of these conditions in more detail.
Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision
Your students can improve their work by recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in the work of others.
Be Kind, Be Specific, Be Helpful