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.

PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK

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.

GENERAL FEEDBACK

There are several ways to provide general feedback to a group of students in a(n) (a)synchronous manner. 

FEED-UP

Discuss and clarify the objectives of the assignment and the associated assessment criteria in advance (e.g. using checklists, rubrics, etc.). This gives students a better idea of what is expected of them. Integrate those objectives into a clear assignment description.

Involve your students when creating a checklist/rubric based on your assessment criteria. Use (good) examples from students for this.

Have students vote (via a voting system) whether an example meets a certain assessment criterion and discuss extensively afterwards.

FEEDBACK

Provide collective feedback based on predefined assessment criteria. Refer to a checklist or rubric if necessary. Create such a rubric in the Ufora tool Assignments and link it to the assignment. This way you can give feedback on every assignment very efficiently.

During your collective feedback moment, you can have students vote (via a voting system) whether an example meets a certain assessment criterion, and discuss why afterwards.

FEEDFORWARD

Provide feedforward based on the predefined assessment criteria so that students know which criteria they have not yet met and which criteria they have, and can certainly transfer to the next assignment.

Use a checklist/rubric to provide feedforward on the assignments. Have students summarize the points they need to work on based on the checklist/rubric, and come up with possible solutions.

Provide an explicit explanation of the steps to be taken to improve learning performance.

FEED-UP

Discuss points for attention and common mistakes in advance in class or on Ufora, thereby clarifying the goals and associated assessment criteria of the assignment.

Formulate model answers. A model answer is the ideal answer that – in the case of an exam – would result in a maximum score.

FEEDBACK

Provide anonymized, authentic examples from previous years or the current year in class. Pay attention to the wording of your feedback: make sure it does not come across as intimidating threatening. Specifically discuss why something is (less) good, for example by discussing a model answer.

Always give sufficient examples, so that students get to know a wide range of possibilities. In this way you prevent copying behaviour of a single unique good example and you stimulate a more well-considered personal process.

Upload a document with this information on Ufora. Choose a transcribed version or a recorded video.

FEEDFORWARD

Formulate specific guidelines on how students can position themselves vis-à-vis the model answers/how they can avoid specific mistakes in the future.

Have students identify for themselves (based on the general session) which points they need to work on.

FEED-UP

Discuss sample exam questions during class and post them on Ufora. In this way, students can familiarize themselves with your way of examining/assessing. Integrate these sample questions into your lectures.

Start class or a Ufora learning path with an exam question and answer it, together with the students, in the course of that class or learning path. State clearly what the correct answer is and how they best answer each type of question.

Show an exam question and an anonymized answer during class/on Ufora and ask students to identify good/bad elements in the answer.  

FEEDBACK

Discuss exam questions after the exam, either in person or online. This gives the students an idea of what went well/is up for improvement.  

FEEDFORWARD

Have students write down points they need to work on when you discuss the exam questions after the exam.

Give students specific starting points on how to treat certain elements of the subject matter more thoroughly. 

FEED-UP

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FEEDBACK

Use the Ufora tool Tests for feedback after students have completed a full test. With Curios or the Ufora tool Surveys (p 65), you get automated feedback per question. Students can also use these tools to take a test anonymously. Read more about the various Ufora tools in the Education Tip mentioned in 3.4.

FEEDFORWARD

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FEED-UP

Use a recorded feedback moment from a previous academic year so that students know what is expected of them. Make sure that your students do not appear on screen if they have not given permission for this. For more information, read the Education Tip on the dos and don’ts of sharing lecture recordings

FEEDBACK

Record the feedback moment so that students can re-watch it. Use it as a feed-up moment during the next academic year. Also be aware of and take into account GDPR requirements.

Have students film themselves and give feedback/have them giving feedback by using a video annotation tool. This allows you to pause the video and formulate feedback at specific times.

Use the audio feedback in the Ufora tool Assignments. You can record two minutes per submitted assignment.

FEEDFORWARD

Have your students re-watch the recorded feedback moment and formulate strengths/ points they need to work on for themselves.

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.  

AssignmentsOPDRACHTEN

Provide instant feedback on individual or group assignments.

Have your student(s) submit a text, audio or video file on which you provide feedback. This is possible with annotations, rubrics or an audio fragment of maximum 2 minutes.

For more information, consult the

Give feedback after the entire quiz is completed, not after every question.

Allow your students to take the quiz multiple times.

Please note: you cannot let your students take the quiz anonymously.

For more information, consult the 

Give feedback after every question and not just at the end.

Have your students complete the survey anonymously.

Note: you cannot indicate whether an answer is right or wrong.

For more information, consult the 

Use the tool as a forum to provide immediate feedback on your students' questions.

Use the chat room to discuss questions from your students.

For more information, consult the 

Have your students give feedback on each other's assignments as individuals or as a group.

Assess group functioning.

Randomly distribute the assignments among your students.

For more information, consult the 

Create a rubric with the required assessment criteria, or do this together with your students. Use it to assess tests, assignment submissions, discussions, and partial scores. Give them to your students in advance (= feed-up).

Use your rubric to assess the assignments.

For more information, consult the 

Make a checklist containing the required criteria, or do this together with your students. Have students fill it in before and/or after the assignment: what do they expect (of themselves) and which criteria have been effectively met?

For more information, consult the 

Prior to the assignment, place a clear description under “Content”, making use of the following possibilities of feed-up: clarify assessment criteria, post good examples and model answers, etc.

For more information, consult the 

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):

 

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. 

UGent Practices

Last modified June 22, 2022, 11:32 a.m.