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Giving Students Feedback Effectively

Feedback should be:

Timely
Supportive
Geared toward improvement
Focused on the work, not on the person
Selective

What does the student most need to know in order to improve?

What is the student capable of understanding/doing at this time?
What will give the student the biggest “pay-off” in terms of improvement?

  • Give more feedback earlier, less feedback later.
  • Feedback given with grades is not necessarily attended to.
  • Return work with feedback as promptly as possible after the assignment is completed. Delayed feedback means students will have moved on to other things and won’t make use of feedback.
  • Don’t use feedback to justify the grade.
  • You don’t have to comment on everything bad.
  • Gear feedback to the goals of the assignment.
  • Be sure to let the student know what they did well.
  • Avoid cryptic comments like “wordy” or “logic?”—Or, if used, explain in an end-note.
  • Keep track of feedback previously given to student, so you can comment on changes/improvement.
  • Don’t “hijack” written work by doing extensive editing or rewriting.
  • Don’t make assumptions about the student’s motivation or state of mind; keep comments focused on the work.
  • Avoid “you-statements” (“You have a good understanding of the theory.”); make statements about the work
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