Best Practice

What does effective student feedback look like? Part 1

Feedback is continually reported to have significant impact on student progress. In this two-part article, teacher Helen Webb reviews some of the current literature and research to try and understand what makes feedback effective

Synthesizing more than 900 educational meta-analyses, Professor John Hattie (2012a) found that effective feedback is among the most powerful influences on how people learn.

The Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation (2013) also report very high effects of feedback on learning. They indicate that it could have an impact of half a GCSE grade per-student, per-subject.

So, what is “feedback”? The term is often used to describe all kinds of comments made, including advice, praise and evaluation. However, none of these are feedback, strictly speaking.

According to Wiggins (2012): “Feedback is information about how we are doing in our efforts to reach a goal ... Helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable; user-friendly (specific and personalised); timely; on-going; and consistent.”

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