To be useful, feedback has to be timely, specific and actionable. Teachers are often buried under day-to-day demands of the profession. But delayed feedback loses its power and utility for students, writes Tara Quigley
OVER THE COURSE OF MY 24-YEAR TEACHING career, I have assessed and provided feedback to students on countless assignments. But only after I learned about how our brains work as we learn, that made the biggest difference to how I provide feedback.
Knowing the end goal of an assignment is critical for providing useful feedback. According to educationists Hattie and Timperley, in their essay The Power of Feedback (2007), “effective feedback must answer three major questions asked by a teacher and/or student: Where am I going? (What are the goals?), How am I going? (what progress is being made towards the goal?), and Where to next? (what actions need to be undertaken to make better progress?). These questions correspond to feed up, feedback, and feed forward.”
There are two types of feedback, formative and summative. The first provides guidance about how a student is progressing towards a summative goal and what she can do to improve her performance. It also informs a teacher how she can provide corrective instruction to individual students or the whole class.