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Providing Constructive Feedback
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Providing Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback – An essential element of formative assessment

Formative feedback is essential if learning is to take place. Students need to know how well or how poorly their learning is proceeding, where they might be going wrong, in what ways and what aspects of their learning can be improved. Feedback can also motivate students by reassuring them when they are correct, and where they might be doing particularly well. Gibbs and Simpson have suggested some essential conditions with regard to timing, quality, and quantity of feedback. Baume proposed a “Feedback Sandwich” to motivate students: Start with the good news, then tell them the bad news in a constructive way, finish on an encouraging note.

Characteristics of constructive feedback

  • Informative
    Identifying strengths, weaknesses and ways to improve

  • Criterion-referenced
    Relating to subject objectives

  • Motivating
    Giving encouragement whenever possible

  • Timely
    As soon as possible

Some useful guidelines for giving feedback

  • A continuous process in teaching and learning

  • Return all assessment scripts to students

  • Clear and precise comments to individual student work

  • Include both positive and critical comments

  • Be constructive, give advice on how to improve

  • Be organised in giving feedback e.g. separate / structure feedback sheet in relation to assessment criteria involved

  • Open discussion and clarification of common mistakes or misconceptions

  • Appropriately identify good performance for students to learn from each other

  • Be communicative – provide opportunity for discussion with students

  • Write legibly
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This project, funded by University Grants Committee of Hong Kong, is an inter-institutuional collaborative project involving the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Hong Kong.

  Copyright & Acknowledgement | Content by the ARC Editorial Team | Updated June 30, 2007 Copyright © 2005 ARC. All rights reserved.