Formative feedback is a teaching and learning strategy that benefits students and teachers. Since formative feedback is ongoing, it can engage and help students reflect on their learning, while planning next steps to work towards. For teachers, this feedback allows for reflection and changes in instruction and assessment.
3 Requirements for Effective Formative Feedback
So, what makes feedback effective? According to experts Holly Fiock and Heather Garcia, teachers who differentiate their feedback provide individualized learning opportunities and increased engagement for students.
For students, effective feedback must be timely, however teachers’ assessment workloads do not often allow for prompt quality feedback. This remains a huge barrier especially with growing class sizes.
To be effective, feedback must also be specific and actionable, so students are cognizant of what they can do to improve for next time – sometimes referred to as feedforward.
According to Ann Wilson, an adjunct professor of Teaching Development at the University of New South Wales, feedback needs to be delivered so that students can make sense of the feedback, are positively reinforced and/or motivated by the feedback, and can apply and act on the feedback (Wilson, 2012).
3 Recommendations to Make Feedback More Effective
While revamping one’s feedback approach may seem daunting, there are three small steps to get started:
- Share what feedback approaches students prefer to include personalization.
- Positively reinforce student feedback engagement in a timely manner.
- Include feedforward or actionable next steps that students can take.
JoeZoo Implements Best Feedback Practices
JoeZoo has implemented these three recommendations in its design of feedback features to save teachers time and effort. Unlike commonly used feedback tools, like Google Docs or MS Word comments, JoeZoo is pedagogically sound and helps students and teachers by:
To give teachers time to return higher order and personalized feedback to their students quickly, JoeZoo automatically adds writing skills feedback to any written coursework, across all subjects.
Students Feedback Reinforcement
Teachers are able to see whether students read or listened to their feedback. Students receive positive reinforcement through digital skill badges when they demonstrate feedback engagement and initiative.
Automatic and Actionable Fix Tips
Feedback comments given by JoeZoo and/or teachers include fix tips (feedforward), so students know exactly how to make improvements for next time.
Sharing Student Engagement Insights
JoeZoo provides deep insights into how students engage with feedback and for how long. Teachers can see what feedback approaches each student prefers, so they can better adapt their feedback strategy and instruction. This allows for a more personalized feedback approach.
Impact of Effective and Engaging Feedback
Substituting a little bit of instruction time for constructive feedback increases student learning. Effective feedback increases students’ awareness of their own learning including mistakes, so they become independent learners and better able to recognize their own errors.
Feedback works as an accountability system, constantly pushing students to reach a higher level of learning. Feedback, specifically timely feedback, helps with students’ intrinsic motivation fostering value in learning and mastery.
Simply giving feedback with tools like Google Docs and MS Word comments is not benefiting students who require more than passive, one-size-fits-all feedback. For formative feedback to be effective, it must be meaningful, timely, and actionable for students. That’s why it’s time for JoeZoo.