How JoeZoo Helps Teachers Give Differentiated Feedback to Students

Students need differentiated feedback to succeed.
JoeZoo differentiates feedback automatically, decreasing assessment time for teachers and increasing engagement for students.
How JoeZoo Helps Teachers Give Differentiated Feedback to Students


In this digital age, educators can no longer offer student feedback that is one-size-fits-all. Yet, they do not have ample time, capacity, and resources to fill this gap in the K-12 space.

Differentiating instruction, including diverse teaching strategies that meet an individual learner’s needs and goals, is a practice all but too many teachers are familiar with. According to Tomilson, there are four ways to differentiate instruction: content, process, product, and learning environment.

Though it is common practice to differentiate the product by providing students the choice between multiple ways to demonstrate their knowledge, feedback for such assessments is often delivered in a singular method. If feedback is being delivered in one way, students may not be taking in as much as teachers hope. Students require quality and diverse feedback to continually improve and iterate their learning.

Why should feedback be differentiated?

Effective feedback, that is differentiated, is just as important for students’ learning as the individualized instruction they receive day-to-day. Constructive feedback is critical to achieve learning goals and at the same time compliments instruction to move students’ learning forward.

Substituting a little bit of instruction time for constructive feedback has shown to increase student learning. Since feedback is an essential part of the learning process, then it too should meet learners’ needs.

This is why JoeZoo created an assessment app that automatically differentiates the feedback students receive for written coursework in any subject, without adding to the workload of time-stressed teachers.

What makes the feedback comments in JoeZoo different?

JoeZoo was created to give teachers, from Grades 3 to 12 and of all subjects, more time for higher order feedback. JoeZoo automatically adds differentiated writing skills feedback every time a student submits or re-submits their submissions. Students get prompt and consistent feedback throughout the writing process.

Image: Feedback comment in the JoeZoo App

Customizable Comment Bank

Teachers can add additional feedback comments as they assess. Consistent feedback throughout the writing process provides students multiple opportunities to reflect, engage, and iterate their writing. Each comment has editable fields for teachers to customize including an explanation, category, fix tip, and additional resources.

Student-Centred Features

Each feedback comment, whether provided by JoeZoo or the teacher, can be read and/or listened to by students using JoeZoo’s text-to-speech feature. Text-to-speech helps all students, especially those facing barriers understanding and reading text, which is one of the most common ways educators deliver feedback.

Feedback comments in JoeZoo can include resource links, allowing for further differentiation. Students can extend their learning and further investigate using targeted online sources. Teachers can add resource links to any feedback comment once. The resources will be automatically provided anytime that comment is reused across assignments.

Lastly, all feedback comments are color-coded, with each color representing a feedback category. This organizes feedback for both students and teachers. For teachers, they can easily tell which type of feedback comments are most common, helping them pivot their instruction.

JoeZoo Feedback Comments Apply Research-Based Pedagogy

All feedback comments are automatically categorized and color-coded, chunking feedback, so students can focus on one category at a time – such as feedback pertaining to punctuation.

Unlike the undifferentiated feedback given using Google Docs or MS Word comments, JoeZoo applies pedagogical science. While the commonly-used, undifferentiated feedback flow mimics the way people read text, feedback can be harder to retain when there is a lack of logical order as seen when reading them in order of appearance.

In JoeZoo, feedback is grouped and chunked by concept. This aids student understanding and retention compared to simply adding it sequentially to their submissions.

Teachers are reaching an unrealistic workload. This is why JoeZoo was designed to create a feedback loop that is automatically differentiated for students, yet time-saving for teachers. Each feature in JoeZoo is planned and created intentionally, backed by research-based pedagogy.

Educators resort to technology to differentiate their instruction. It’s time to give them technology to make differentiated feedback easy to give and more engaging for students to receive. It’s time for JoeZoo.

Darlene Ma