Guideline Sixteen | Feedback

16. Meaningful and timely feedback to students improves learning.

Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.”
Chickering, A. & Gamson, Z. 1987, “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education”, AAHE Bulletin, vol. 39, no. 7. link

Good feedback on assessed work tells the student four things: 1) what are the good or successful features of the assessed work; 2) what are the poor or less successful features of the assessed work; 3) how the student can improve in this piece of work; 4) how the students might do better work in the future. Good feedback is also timely. Provided too soon it may stop the students themselves reflecting on their work; provided too late it may no longer be salient…
Isaacs, G. 2001, Assessment for Learning, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, pp. 10–11.

It is a truism that learners require feedback to learn … there is more to feedback than it simply happening or not happening. It has to happen reasonably soon after the learning activity.” Gibbs, G. 1999, “Using assessment strategically to change the way students learn”, in S. Brown & A. Glasner (eds), Assessment Matters in Higher Education, SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham


Toolkit Guideline 16


Online Resources

The Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) web site, a resource for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) instructors. Art Ellis & team. University of Wisconsin-Madison. link

Giving and receiving feedback. Sloan communication program. MIT. link

Changing assessment practice in engineering: how can understanding lecturer perspectives help? Liz McDowell, Su White & Hugh Davis. European Journal of Engineering Education. Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2004, 173–181. link

Rethinking Exams and Letter Grades: How Much Can Teachers Delegate to Students? Elizabeth Kitchen et al. Brigham Young University. link

Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. Paul Black and Dylan William. link