Develop a feedback-rich environment

Feedback is one of the most effective ways to enhance student learning. It is an integral part of the teaching process and relies on clear goals, and effective instruction, learning activities and assessment tasks.

Photo of teacher providing feedback to the student

“I know what I have to do”

Key questions for educators to ask:

  • Does the feedback include positive aspects of the work?
  • Is the focus of the feedback on task achievement (rather than student ability)?
  • Does the feedback offer specific direction to students on how they can improve?
  • Is the timing of the feedback appropriate (immediate feedback for low stake assessment tasks, delayed feedback for high stake assessment tasks?
  • Do I actively involve students in designing, giving and receiving feedback?

Effective feedback means providing timely, specific high quality information to your students. It is a collaborative process where students engage as active, self-regulatory participants. It facilitates the development of self-assessment in learning, helps clarify what good performance is and provides information to teachers on how they can shape the teaching.

Formative feedback is as much a way of teaching as it is of assessing. For this reason, it is often referred to as ‘feeding forward’, allowing students to measure how well they are doing and specifically where they have room for improvement.

Feedback can also significantly develop confidence and motivation in students. Developing learner confidence is often overlooked in tertiary education as assumptions are made that students are already proficient or will easily be able to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the tertiary domain. However, it is important to remember that for many students this may not be the case. The transition into university as a school-leaver, as a mature-age student, or as the first in family to attend a tertiary institution, requires that explicit instruction and on-going feedback and direction ensure all students are supported to acquire these new understandings and skills.

References

  • Vardi, I Effective Feedback for Student Learning in Higher Education, HERDSA, (2012)