In your opinion, what are the characteristics of effective feedback?



Hey @lee.howell! It’s great to see you in our community :slight_smile: That’s a great video. I am sharing it here in case others haven’t seen it and want to check it out:


I, too, have two different curriculum approaches in order to be as student-centered as possible. I primarily teach Algebra 1 and my classes fall into to categories: ON track (Semester 1 followed by Semester 2) and OFF track (Sem 2 during Sem 1, or repeat Sem 1 during Sem 2).

For my ON classes, I introduce new concepts in a fairly ‘whole group’ setting, but I try to keep it no more than 15-20 minutes (of a 90 minute block) and then students use Formative and other tools to work at their own pace through a series of mini-lessons that build up to the level they will see on the test.

For my OFF classes, I take a different approach and do a Bell Ringer with 3-4 different concepts as a review before students break off into individualized lessons. Each concept is still broken down into mini lessons, but these students in these classes are given the freedom to choose which concepts they practice. The Bell Ringer offers a set of suggested starting points. I tell students that if they ‘rocked’ #1, they would fly right through #.# (I label all my mini lessons 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc so students know the natural progression to build towards mastery.) Each Bell Ringer problem is a different standard, so students should be able to find at least one area of strength to build upon. These students have a daily of goal to complete X number of mini lessons, but they get to choose which lessons on which to work. Then I walk around the room helping students individually as well as monitor their progress online.

In both types of classes, my online feedback tends to be short, specific comment: check your exponents, solve for y first, sign error, etc. I want my students to find their error with the least amount of direction from me so they are forced to think and in doing so ‘forge the learning pathways’ in their brains. Verbally my feedback tends to be a series of questions, where hopefully along the way the student says ‘never mind, I see what I did.’ Via email, my feedback tends to be a ‘sandwich’: positive comment, area of improvement comment, positive comment.


I am totally using this video next year. Last year only 1 out of 3 students was actually ready to learn Algebra 1, so LOTS of feedback was given throughout the school year. I had to redirect student-to-student feedback comments often. I think this video would be a great springboard for teaching students how to give effective feedback without being ‘mean.’


Thanks David! I was just getting ready to search for that video. :slight_smile:


You are welcome :slight_smile: By the way, I think these are great approaches to giving feedback in different scenarios. I agree that in giving feedback, we should help students engage in the thinking that will compel them to learn more. When I taught, I also used a lot of questions as feedback. My goal was to take an objective approach to learning conversations and partner with them in discovering their next steps in learning.


My mantra for students is, Feedback is a Gift , Accept it. A prefer person using a Growth Mindset for feedback which praises or critiquing the process. This is especially helpful when students are not successful. For example, You didn’t get the correct answer but what did you learn. When it comes to feedback for student explanations I typically reply You showed improvement keep trying you’ll get it.


Less is more, and heartfelt is important. Students like to hear something concrete and to the point, and they can tell if you are truly concerned for their learning. :slight_smile:


Agreed! To add on, I think it’s important to show that we care by being conscientious of the tone we use when we are speaking with or writing to them :slight_smile: