Feedback: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know
Giving feedback means giving students input on how they perform in a specific assignment or process or on their (learning) behaviour. They can gain such input either from introspection or from others, i.e. lecturers, peers, a book, etc. Feedback is a means to narrow the gap between any given stage in the learning process, and the end point (= the objectives). Feedback, in other words, promotes in-depth learning. Students gain insight into specific sticking points and opportunities for growth. In addition, the student learns to reflect better and motivation for the task increases.
Feedback is inextricably linked with feed-up and feedforward. Feed-up means that explicate the learning objectives of an assignment so that the students know what the objective is and can focus on it accordingly. Ideally, students can transfer the feedback to a following (similar) assignment or implement it into desired behaviour. That is called feed-forward. In short, feed-up, feedback and feed-forward all aim to improve students’ learning performance.
In this Education Tip, we will explain when feedback, feed-up and feed-forward are needed and even required, and which conditions must be met for high-quality and effective feedback. We will also give specific tips on how to organize feedback, feed-up and feed-forward.
1. When to Give Feedback
Ghent University’s Education and Examination Code stipulates that the lecturer-in-charge or any other designated person must provide feedback after each exam period. Read the Education Tip on Feedback after the Exam Period to find out more about the regulations and the practical organization.
In addition, also provide as much interim feedback as possible. Interim information gives students more insight into the objectives of the assignment and creates opportunities to grow, make adjustments and reach a higher level.
2. What Makes for Effective Feedback
Giving effective feedback is not easy. Below are some conditions to take into account. Click on each image for more information.
3. How to Give Feedback
There are different ways to give or let others give feedback. First you need to decide who will give feedback, i.e. the student, the lecturer or the mentor and review the options below. Use the tools in Ufora to support the feedback process.
3.1 Self- or Peer Feedback
Self- or peer feedback reveals one’s own or fellow-students’ strengths and weaknesses: students learn to look critically at the quality of the work and the stated behaviour. This creates a deeper insight into the assessment criteria of the assignment within the discipline.
How to integrate self- or peer feedback into your teaching practice?
- give explicit criteria by means of which students should assess themselves or others;
- have students complete a checklist or rubric for their peers/themselves before submitting the assignments, in the interim or at the end of the assignment. Let them assess themselves or the others using clear criteria: what do they expect (of themselves)? What are the strengths/weaknesses?
- make sure your students know in advance how to draw up self- and peer feedback. Teach them to detect and name strengths/weaknesses, and to formulate adequate and corresponding feedback, i.e. feedback that is specific and solution-oriented. Use examples;
- use the video annotation functionalities integrated into Ufora for submitted videos. They are also suitable for self- and peer feedback;
- be inspired by the options listed below for lecturer feedback.
Do you also want your students to assess themselves or each other? Then integrate peer assessment.
3.2 Lecturer Feedback
When students submit/perform an assignment, lecturers can choose to provide personalized or general feedback. Personalized feedback is preferred, but is more time-consuming than general feedback.
In all your feedback always be aware of your language use: tailor it to the student. Make sure that the student interprets your feedback in the same way as what you had in mind. Avoid language that is too formal because it creates a great distance. Try not to be too pedantic.
If you favour giving oral and personalized feedback to a student or a group of students with the same assignment? Then read the Education Tip on How to Conduct a Feedback Conversation.
Would you rather give written, personalized feedback to a student or group of students?
- Have your students upload their assignment using the Ufora tool Assignments which allows you to record (inline) feedback or give audio feedback on texts;
- are you more into working old school? Use “comments” in a Word or PDF file to write down your feedback, or to refer to a rubric, with or without an error code. We illustrate one possible approach in the video about Ghent University’s style guide;
- use a video annotation tool in Ufora for submitted videos;
With personalized feedback it is important to remember feed-up and feedforward. View the feed-up and feedforward options below under General feedback.
There are several ways to provide general feedback to a group of students in a(n) (a)synchronous manner.
3.3 Overview of Ufora Tools to Support the Feedback Process
Find out more about the tools and possibilities for feed-up, feedback and feedforward on Ufora.
4. Want to Know More?
Take the feedback test and find out if you give good feedback.
Read the Education Tips below about feedback (for specific assignments):
- How to Conduct a Feedback Conversation
- Coaching (Individual) Students with Their Written and Oral Assignments
- Written and Oral Assignments: How to Give Feedback and Assess Them?
- Master’s Dissertation: How to Coach Students?
Consult the sources below:
- Gibbs, G. and Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under Which Assessment Supports Students’ Learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE), 1, 3-31. http://insight.glos.ac.uk/tli/resources/lathe/Documents/issue%201/articles/simpson.pdf
- Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298487
- Nicol, D.J., Macfarlane-Dick, D., (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2), p. 199-218.
- Rosenberg, M.B. (2010). Geweldloze communicatie. Ontwapenend en doeltreffend. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat.
- Winne, P. H. & Butler, D. L. (1994). Student Cognition in learning from teaching. In T. Husen & T. Postlewaite (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed., pp.5738-5745). Oxford, UK: Pergamon.
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