Providing Feedback to Learners
Feedback enhances learner achievement by highlighting progress rather than deficiency. With progress feedback a learner is given opportunities for checking-in with the teacher and multiple opportunities to ask questions. Learners answer the following questions during progress feedback:
With progress feedback a learner will be able to successfully self-monitor, have higher aspirations for further achievement, greater self-satisfaction, and higher performance overall. By taking the time to sit down with a learner and offer constructive criticism, give necessary help, offer suggestions, and provide positive feedback, teachers can positively impact learning. Marzano, Pickering and Pollock (2001) cite providing feedback as one of the nine effective classroom strategies in their book, Classroom Strategies that Work: Researched-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. Effective feedback should:
- Am I on the right track?
- What improvements can I make?
- What am I doing well?
- How am I doing overall?
- Be “corrective” in nature. Feedback should provide learners with an explanation of what they are doing correctly and what they are doing that is not correct.
- Be timely. Immediate feedback is necessary in order for it to be the most effective.
- Be specific to a criterion. Feedback should reference a specific level of skill or knowledge and not be norm-referenced.
- Allow learners to provide their own feedback. Learners should be able to effectively monitor their own progress through self-evaluation based on the feedback given by the teacher.
Feedback can be informal or formal. With informal feedback, teachers can “drop by” learners’ desks and comment on their work. With this type of feedback learners receive instantaneous suggestions and can make immediate changes. With formal feedback, learners attend a meeting with the teacher where teachers check progress toward goals, discuss progress, and work with learners to set new goals. Meetings and one-on-one discussions help develop self-direction and protect learners from the fear of failure. When learners are given feedback along the way, they are able to learn from their mistakes, make the necessary changes and achieve at higher levels. “The best feedback appears to involve an explanation as to what is accurate and what is inaccurate in terms of learner responses. In addition, asking learners to keep working on a task until they succeed appears to enhance achievement.” (Marzano, p. 96)
Learn About Peer Feedback
Learners value each other’s opinions and ideas. In most cases, they enjoy working with one another. If given the opportunity, learners can give and receive important and valuable ideas from a peer. When set up correctly, structured peer-to-peer meetings give learners time to get suggestions, ideas, and compliments on their work. When meetings are productive, learners are aware of what to look for and have specific criteria to follow as they work with their peers. Evaluation guides or checklists can be handy tools to keep learners on task and remind them to offer positive feedback as well as suggestions and ideas. With practice and modelling, teachers can implement this strategy into the classroom at any time for a variety of purposes.
Make it Happen in Your Classroom
Teacher and peer feedback can take place at any grade level and with any subject / learning area. Embedding informal and formal feedback into the classroom is an effective and worthwhile strategy. Learn about ways to implement this strategy into the classroom.
Informal Teacher Feedback >
Check-ups and check-ins are used to see how learners are progressing, answer questions, or help with ideas.
Formal Teacher Feedback >
With the use of meetings, teachers can provide suggestions and comments along with individualized goal setting.
Peer-to-Peer Feedback >
With the use of structured peer meetings learners give and receive feedback on their current work.