Feedback is designed to bring about an improvement in
learner’s performance and achievement. Feedback can be given by the
practitioner or by peers. It can be either formal or informal. It can be oral
or written, it can be formative or summative, but overall it must provide the
learner with specific advice on how to improve their performance.
Learning intentions explicitly state what the learner should:
by the end of an activity, unit of work, or a lesson and they are expressed in language learners understand. The Learning Intention should answer the learner who asks “Why are we learning this?”
Sharing and providing clarity on what the learner will learn
is the purpose of the Learning Intention. Clearly stated skills, knowledge or
understandings are focus of the learning Intentions and are written in language
the students can understand.
Another example is from Music (AusVELS level 4) where learners may create a sound picture. The Learning Intention is to ‘understand variation in rhythmic patterns’. The medium by which learners demonstrate their learning is a sound picture.
Learners may also set their own learning intentions.
The success criteria set the performance by which achievement of the learning intentions will be measured. The success criteria are made known to the learners and for learning to be most effective the success criteria are co-constructed with the learners.
Read more about learning intentions.
Effective feedback informs the learner about their progress towards meeting the success criteria. A useful model for feedback is presented by Hattie as ‘Feed Up, Feed Back, Feed Forward. In this model the learner considers three questions:
Read more about the Feedback model.
Feedback needs to be timely. It needs to be given while there is still time for the learners to act on it and to monitor and adjust their own learning.
It can be ‘in-the-moment' in the case of classroom dialogue and discussion. The practitioner will receive feedback from the way learners answer questions and the questions asked by them. In order to effectively gather evidence from questioning about who does and who does not understand it may be necessary to vary the way questions are asked in the classroom to ensure all learners are able to participate and provide evidence of their level of understanding. This evidence should indicate whether it is necessary to reteach, provide more varied discussion and practice, use peer teaching or move the learners forward.
Feedback on learning tasks also needs to be regular and provided as soon as possible after completion. Written, descriptive comments need to be in language that is accessible to the learners and should refer back to the preliminary discussion of learning goals and success criteria. Effective feedback provides specific guidance on how to improve learning outcomes and it enables the learner to think about the learning involved in the task and not just the activity of completing the task.
View tips for giving effective feedback.
The amount of feedback needs to be limited to what learners can reasonably accept. Effective feedback does not merely correct learner’s errors but actively requires them to reconsider their work and think about why, for example, spelling and punctuation may be incorrect, where a mistake has been made in mathematical workings or an idea or situation has been misunderstood.
It is recognised that making errors is a fundamental
point in improving learning. Feedback on where the misunderstandings and misconceptions are
occurring assists learners to move to greater understanding and success, to
become more self-directed and to believe in their ability to complete tasks and
Feedback on formal tasks that just includes marks or grades or comments that discuss level of performance and suggest that the learning journey is finished should be avoided. This can prevent the learner from fully considering and acting on the feedback. Multiple forms of feedback, such as comments, questions, and discussion provided frequently during learning encourage engagement and motivation to succeed.