Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative. Its power is frequently mentioned in articles about learning and teaching, but surprisingly few recent studies have systematically investigated its meaning.
Evidence shows that although feedback is among the major influences, the type of feedback and the way it is given can be differentially effective. A model of feedback is then proposed that identifies the particular properties and circumstances that make It effective, and some typically thorny issues are discussed, including the timing of feedback and the effects of positive and negative feedback. Finally ,this analysis is used to suggest ways in which feedback can be used to enhance its effectiveness in classrooms.
Feedback is one of the top 10 influences on student achievement.
John Hattie provides some interesting clarifications and explanations about feedback in schools:
- Giving is not receiving: Teachers may claim they give much feedback, but the more appropriate measure is the nature of feedback received (and this is often quite little).
- The culture of the student can influence the feedback effects: Feedback is not only differentially given but also differentially received.
- Disconfirmation is more powerful than confirmation: When feedback is provided that disconfirms then there can be greater change, provided it is accepted.
- Errors need to be welcomed: The exposure to errors in a safe environment can lead to higher performance
- The power of peers: Interventions that aim to foster correct peer feedback are needed.
- Feedback from assessment: Assessment (…) could and should also provide feedback to teachers about their methods.
- There are many strategies to maximize the power of feedback: Shute (2008)provided nine guidelines for using feedback to enhance learning:
- focus feedback on the task not the learner,
- provide elaborated feedback,
- present elaborated feedback in manageable units,
- be specific and clear with feedback messages,
- keep feedback as simple as possible but no simpler,
- reduce uncertainty between performance and goals,
- give unbiased, objective feedback, written or via computer,
- promote a learning goal orientation via feedback,
- provide feedback after learners have attempted a solution.