How to Give Effective Written Feedback
On the back of our other blogs about written feedback, we wanted to review how you can give effective written feedback. The more opportunities to give feedback, either written or verbal, the better. It’s essential that you’re able to give effective feedback to improve learner experiences. This is why we have put together this guide on how you can give effective feedback. So, let’s go through it together.
Students tend to focus more on the grade they get rather than the feedback given. You can decide whether to give feedback only on formative work, rather than a grade and feedback. Make sure you give the learners time to process the feedback and respond to it if they wish. You can also increase the opportunities for formal and informal feedback.
Make feedback understandable
If you’re writing holistic comments on feedback, remember to keep it constructive! There are many ways you can make your feedback understandable for the learner. Here are our best tips and tricks to make your feedback understandable.
- Refer to examples within their work
- Try and avoid unnecessary jargon,
- Be direct and concise with the feedback,
- Separate feedback into bullet points, referring them to action points,
- Consider the level your students are at,
- Be mindful of learners understanding,
- Ensure feedback accessibility.
Feedback in general should be a discussion, allowing students to comment, reply or ask questions. You can do this in multiple ways. Such as written feedback, audio or even asking students to keep a personal development journal.
Make improvement clear
You can refer to specific lessons or resources where any information was covered so they can revise and brush up on the content. Give out, or make specific resources available to learners so they can practice. Make sure you try and encourage engagement with formative assessments. This can be a way to help motivate students. As an assessor, you should also consider these tips.
- You can use the stop, start, change, and continue method,
- Give learners tips on what to fix, but also how to improve it,
- Try to avoid focusing on small or technical problems, these can be improved at a later date,
- If the learner’s language and expression are affecting their accuracy, try to identify particular points and give guidance surrounding those,
- Provide resources for learners with impairments to make it easier to understand.
Make it timely
When feedback doesn’t come in a timely manner learners may not find it useful. Due to time constraints, learners don’t have the time to apply the feedback and make the changes. Giving feedback in a timely manner is crucial to help learners develop and grow.
Timely feedback gives the learner a chance to process the feedback, respond to it if necessary and implement the improvements. It’s also important to help students understand that the feedback is more than just comments on their performance, and more of a process for them to improve.
Be aware of language
Try to prevent the use of negative words and phrases. There is a balance to writing feedback that needs to be found. Avoid personal comments, for example, ‘I felt like your intro wasn’t clear’. It’s better to make direct comments and references to certain criteria or to make more objective comments explaining why. For example, ‘your introduction was unclear due to a lack of X and this affected your demonstration of this criteria’. Explain why you don’t understand to help make it more simple for the learner.
Whether you’re an assessor, tutor or trainer, written feedback is just as important as verbal. Especially when you know how to give constructive and effective written feedback. If you have any questions about feedback, whether it’s written or verbal, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.