Whether you’re a teaching veteran or fresh out of your teacher training, you’re probably familiar with the standard student feedback issued on student report cards. While the current best practice has brought us a long way from “Your child is a pleasure to have in class,” it’s easy to fall into a rut when giving student feedback.
So, you’re looking for creative, constructive, and effective feedback for your students. But how can you give individualized feedback without pouring over report cards for hours? And how can you ensure that your feedback makes a difference in students’ learning achievement moving forward?
Here, we’ll look at the defining feature of effective feedback, and we’ll go through eight examples that will take your feedback game to the next level!
When you think of giving feedback to students, you probably react in one of two ways: either it seems like an impossible task that requires your full attention and hours (or days!) of your time, or else it feels like a tedious and repetitive task that has you copy-pasting generic feedback for each student.
There is a fine line between constructive and effective feedback and losing your sanity by giving individualized feedback. The most effective student feedback includes actionable suggestions for moving forward and measurable outcomes that can be checked and assessed later on in the school year.
Giving student feedback affects your classroom because it sets the course for future learning. When you give actionable and effective feedback, you’re essentially setting the future learning objectives for each student.
Often, we think of assessment or feedback as the result of our classroom teaching and instructional design. However, constructive and effective feedback is just one part of the cycle of learning. The feedback or assessment isn’t the finish line: it’s a mile marker.
Imagine you’re running a marathon. Signposts say how far you’ve already come and how far you’re still having to go. Friends are cheering you on. These signs help you set the pace, and the encouragement keeps you motivated. This is just like classroom feedback.
When you use feedback to measure achievement as you go (rather than measuring overall achievement), your classroom and lesson plans can adapt to meet the specific needs of your students.
Here are eight examples of feedback to promote formative assessment and get/keep students on target as they grow and learn throughout the year.
Student feedback: [NAME] always tries new things in class.
Why it works: You acknowledge that your student takes academic risks in class. If you’ve ever wished students to raise their hands and volunteer, try incorporating something like this in your feedback.
Student feedback: [NAME] takes initiative, especially in [SUBJECT].
Why it works: You take note of the student’s ability to identify and approach problems without being explicitly told, and you give a nod to their personal interests.
Student feedback: [NAME] reached their specific goal of [EXPLICITLY STATE THE GOAL].
Why it works: You get to praise a measurable achievement, and it gives you a great foundation to set up the student’s next goal. It’s a way to gauge current progress while planning ahead for future success!
Student feedback: [NAME] used to [UNDESIRABLE PAST OUTCOME], but now they [DESIRABLE CURRENT OUTCOME].
Why it works: You acknowledge how far the student has come in a certain area or skill, and you get to draw a clear comparison that emphasizes and reinforces the desired outcome. This way, the student is affirmed and encouraged to continue on the right path.
Student feedback: [NAME] isn’t afraid to try new methods / processes / solutions.
Why it works: You’re giving a nod to the student’s effective orientation (i.e., their fearlessness, curiosity, or boldness) while also complementing their creative approach to learning. Effective orientation is a key element for learning achievement, so giving feedback that speaks to the individual and the learning goals is essential.
Student feedback: [NAME] always knows when to ask for help.
Why it works: You’re acknowledging that your student has a clear understanding of what they know and what they’re still learning. It also speaks to their willingness to cooperate and learn from others.
Student feedback: Other students know that they can always ask [NAME] for help.
Why it works: You see that this student is a team player who uses their knowledge and skills for the benefit of the whole class. This student is also a key player in helping to make your classroom a cooperative and comfortable place to learn.
Student feedback: [NAME] is flexible and always willing to try a new approach.
Why it works: You can clearly see that this student can roll with the punches and that they understand the material well enough to apply it in many different contexts. This is a shout-out to higher-level thinking skills and a great compliment to the student’s character!
Just because you’re making the switch to online assignments doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice personalized feedback to your students. With TeacherMade, you use our auto-score features to free up time to add more personalized comments. You can type customized comments so students can see their assignments. We mirrored the same experience of writing on student assignments with a pen. (The big difference is you will be done faster, and you’re not hauling a pile of paper around!)