The 7 Hallmarks of Effective Feedback
We believe that providing effective feedback to students is a teachable skill that can be acquired and improved through practice and coaching. We use a standard framework to teach, provide, and evaluate effective feedback. Our framework is adapted from renowned educator Grant Wiggins’ article, “The Seven Keys of Effective Feedback.”
Feedback on student work should be tied to specific, measurable learning goals, objectives, or standards. When giving feedback, link your comments to the expectations laid out in the assignment prompt and rubric. Directly reference the prompt and rubric components, using similar language when possible. Help students understand where they are in relation to the stated goals.
Feedback should be concise and focused on the areas of strength and growth that will have the greatest impact on the student’s writing. It isn’t feasible or advisable to provide feedback on every aspect of a student’s writing. Concise, prioritized feedback is more digestible for students and easier to internalize and implement. You will have to make judgment calls on where to focus. Make your selections with the goal of the essay in mind.
Feedback should be so specific that the student immediately knows how to take action. Your comments should clearly describe their successes and shortfalls and directly reference the student’s work in order to point the student to their next steps. To advance students’ metacognition and enable them to self-assess their work, ask probing questions that will spark thoughtful reflection and a new understanding for how to develop their work.
Feedback should be personalized and engaging to ensure it reaches the student. To aid student acceptance of feedback, respond like a reader who is seeking to understand what the student has written. An encouraging, positive tone will go far in helping students accept your feedback and apply it to future work. Be sure to use language that is clear and not too technical.
Ongoing, Consistent and Timely
To be effective, feedback must also be ongoing, consistent, and timely. This means that students need ample opportunities to use feedback and that feedback must be accurate, trustworthy and stable. When feedback isn’t timely, students are disengaged and demotivated. Teachers are responsible for building in regular feedback loops into their practice. Graders are responsible for meeting all deadlines and delivering consistent, calibrated feedback.