The Teacher Tip

Give Powerful and Useful Feedback

June 14, 2017

Adapted from DynamicTeaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach by Vicki Vinton


Feedback has long been seen as a powerful form of teaching, though increasingly researchers are recognizing that certain types of feedback are more effective than others. It turns out, for instance, that grades and written comments on student assignments, which are the most common type of feedback, are the least effective. That's because, as Dylan Wiliam writes in Embedded Formative Assessment, "in such situations, feedback is rather like the scene in the rearview mirror rather than through the windshield. Or as Douglas Reeves once memorably observed, it's like the difference between having a medical [checkup] and a postmortem."


Impactful feedback, on the other hand, is characterized by several features. It’s descriptive versus evaluative and occurs in real time as students are actually grappling with problems, instead of once the work’s done. Or as John Hattie puts it, from the students’ perspective it should feel “just in time, just for me, just for where I am in the learning process and just what I need to help move me forward”


Feedback should be: timely, responsive, and ongoing

To learn more about Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, and to download a sample chapter, click here.

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