Written feedback can be a powerful tool for helping students to move forward in their learning. However, if we bombard the students with too much feedback, the students will shut down. Do you remember ever getting an English paper with more red marks than your original writing? Did you feel that it was hopeless to try to write?
Written feedback has the advantage that the student can refer to it over and over again. With oral feedback, the student may forget what was said.
Some techniques for effective written feedback:
– Sandwich your improvement feedback between what the student did well in terms of the standard.
– Focus on one to two critical aspects only. Do not comment on all five components of your Science lab report rubric.
– Word process your comments so that students can read them! If students hand in their work in digital format, you can add your comments in the appropriate places
– Word your feedback in student understandable talk.
– Instead of telling , asking questions
– Be positive or neutral, never negative!
– Be very concrete about what the student needs to do to improve. Avoid “Write better”, “Enlarge ideas,” and “Be specific.” Create a word processed list of concrete suggestions so that you can easily cut and paste.
-Review your written feedback notes for students to see if you need to do whole class, small group, pair or individual focused instruction.
– Allow an opportunity for the student to re-do the work. Student learning is the purpose, not a summative grade.
What other techniques do you use to give written formative feedback?