Teachers often don’t agree on issues of pedagogy.
That said, all teachers would probably admit that feedback is a good thing. Feedback comprises the core of formative assessment. It is one of the most powerful influences on student achievement. But what does good feedback look like? It is one of those educational terms that is often difficult to define and put into words. Feedback is usually thought of as advice, praise and evaluation. In general though, it is information about how we’re doing in an effort to reach our goals. It is descriptive not evaluative. It is a continuous process that is given consistently throughout the year. Some simple questions that can be used to communicate with parents and guide feedback are:
What can the student do?
What can’t the student do?
How does the student’s work compare with that of others?
How can the student do better?
Balanced – Mix the positive and the negative.
Providing feedback means giving students an explanation of what they are doing correctly and incorrectly. However, the focus of the feedback should be based essentially on what the students is doing right. It is most productive to a student’s learning when they are provided with an explanation and example as to what is accurate and inaccurate about their work. Use the concept of a “feedback sandwich” to guide your feedback: Compliment, Correct, Compliment.
Specific – Give details and plan of action.
Saying “good job” is not feedback! General praise and comments are not effective ways to help students improve. It must not be vague or ambiguous. Try to include examples to illustrate your statement. This is when rubrics become a useful tool. Effective rubrics provide students with very specific information about their performance, comparative to an established range of standards.