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Quality Feedback

Quality Feedback An Article presenting 3 essential features of quality feedback.

There is a huge value in learning with instant feedback.
Anant Agarwal

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Educators, Assessment

Tags: Assessment AfL Feedback Questioning
Let me raise 3 issues about quality feedback, Sp.? Thumbs and Passports:

1. Sp.?
Many years ago during a clear out I came across my old primary school books. Pages were scattered with red pen and at the end of one piece a comment stood out: Sp.? ;

I assume the Sp. meant, "Well, done, spellings generally accurate, let's now focus on more complex words such as accommodation." But was the ? an invitation to engage in debate? A lack of confidence from my teacher? or the punctuational equivalent of a raised eyebrow? Although I don't recall, I would imagine I read this feedback days after I handed the piece in. What I did with Sp.? I've no idea.

2. Thumbs
Fast forward to last year. I'm being coached live as I train. A voice in my ear says, "Thumbs out". I immediately remove my thumbs from my belt loop. This is a behaviour I planned to stop and was a pre-arranged focus with the coach (who was observing the lesson live from the next room and had a private audio link to me). Since that day I've never repeated the action.

3. Passports
Rewind a few years. I'm taking a photo of my son for his passport. I think I'm following the image success criteria. I post the application, photos and payment then wait. A few weeks later the application is returned, rejected, because the photo is not quite straight; my son's eyes not quite level with each other. I phoned up to explain that in real life they are not quite level anyway, though to such a minimal extent that only the passport office would notice.

The feedback issues raised here are:
1. Clarity - the accuracy of what is fed back
2. Immediacy - the delay between action and feeding back
3. Purpose - the reason for giving feedback

1. Sp.? is not clear enough to cause anything different to happen. It is a vague stab in the right direction. It should be a precise reflection of performance accompanied by an appropriate developmental task, e.g.: 'ough' not consolidated yet, pick 3 'ough' words and present visually

2. My thumbs feedback happened while I was carrying out the behaviour I wanted to change. I was told immediately, I corrected immediately and my behaviour changed permanently.

3. The purpose of the passport feedback was to enforce a pedantic rule, not to help me get better at taking photos.

Quality Feedback
So, when planning and giving quality feedback, we try taking 1., 2., and 3. into account. Make it clear, make it timely and make it purposeful. This can happen during lessons, in a plenary, outside of lessons and in written form. Here are 3 professional development questions to help you enrich your quality feedback skills:

1. Am I feeding back exactly what I saw/heard?
2. Am I feeding back as close to the event as possible?
3. Am I linking feedback to success criteria?

Here are a couple of examples,
Your shading is accurate here, it shows depth, how can you develop it to show the different textures? (given direct to pupil during an Art lesson on observational drawing)

Your poem includes 3 good examples of imagery, how well do you think you have met the success criteria? (written in pupil's book and returned within 24 hours)

The idea is to go for pithy, accurate comments rather than elaborative, extensive dialogue (though that does have its place). Play around with spoken and written comments. Reduce the number of words but maintain all three features.

I wonder if the following feedback to a student does all three:


Related Resources:

Feedback Circles

Feedback Circles Powerpoint



Skills Think Sheet - Feedback


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