Formative Feedback

Teaching & Learning: A look at ‘Feedback’ from your Teacher.

Feedback to our students relies on clearly defined goals (including learning intentions and success criteria) and on learning tasks or activities to track a student’s progress towards those goals. The information gathered through these activities provides the basis for feedback to a student.

Teaching and learning activities, including formative and summative assessments, provide opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about our students’ progress. This helps us to give feedback to our students about how they are learning and what they need to do next to move forward. Various studies on feedback typically show that the pace of student learning is accelerated by at least 50% because of feedback.

Feedback then is information

  • for the student and teacher about the student’s performance

  • about a student’s performance relative to learning intentions or success criteria.

  • based on evidence of learning.

  • from the teacher, the student themselves or their peers through peer assessment activities.

Feedback from a Student Perspective.

Effective feedback is designed to achieve improvement in your learning, continuously driving your current performance towards a learning goal.

What then should you do with feedback once you have received it from your teacher following an assignment, essay, or task? It is always good to look clearly at what the feedback is saying. What are the teacher’s comments telling you specifically? What steps do you see that you can take to improve your work? John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007), offer three key questions for students to think about:

· Where am I going? ... (in my learning)

· How am I going? ... (in my learning)

· Where to next? ... (in my learning)

Steps you might apply after receiving Feedback

The following are seven suggested steps you might apply after receiving feedback comments from your teacher on any assignment, whether it be an essay, a project, a CBA, or a piece of homework:

1. Write down all the suggestions you received from your teacher on how to improve your assignment.

2. Look at these comments side by side with your overall assignment.

3. Put numbers by the suggested changes in your list to show the order of importance in which you will address them.

4. Rewrite or redo your work according to this order of priority / importance.

5. Read your first draft and then your new draft. See how you feel about the changes.

6. Make further changes you may feel are needed.

7. If your teacher gives you verbal feedback, it is always good practice to write it down and then apply it to future assignments and tasks.

Good feedback will produce two key outcomes:

  1. As teachers, we will adapt our teaching strategies to help you make progress in areas identified as needing attention.

  2. As a student, you will change what you do to address the learning goals more effectively.

  • One final point to students ..... never take feedback on your work personally.

  • It is not about you, but rather about the quality of your work.

  • Teachers will always try to provide feedback points as a guide so that you can continuously improve.

Dylan William: Feedback moves the learning forward.

"There’s lots of different ways of looking at feedback, but a very important way of looking at feedback is whether its ego involving or task involving…And what the research shows very clearly is that ego involving feedback is rarely effective and, in fact, can lower achievement." - Dylan William

"What we need to do is to give students feedback that helps them move forward. Give them feedback that makes it clear that ability is incremental rather than fixed." - Dylan William

NCCA: Focus on Learning: Formative Feedback (click arrow >>)

As teachers, we all want to improve student learning and student achievement. But how do we know what interventions or teaching strategies work best? The work of John Hattie, Professor of Education University of Auckland is very informative in answering this question. In his definitive work ‘Visible Learning; a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement’ (London; Routledge, 2009), Hattie analysed thousands of different pieces of research and he identified those things which work best and therefore are worth doing if we want to improve student learning.

He concluded that there are a number of teaching strategies that can lead to an improvement of more than one grade to students’ learning. He created a table showing these teaching methods and feedback is shown as the most important thing a teacher can do to improve student achievement.

"The most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement is feedback. The most simple prescription for improving education must be dollops of feedback. This does not mean using many tests and providing over-prescriptive directions. It means providing information about how and why the student understands and misunderstands, and what directions the student must take to improve". - John Hattie, Influences on Student Learning

Feedback is critical to improving learning as it both influences students’ motivation to learn and their ability to do so.

Source: NCCA: Focus on Learning: Formative Feedback, Workshop 3, page. 5

Formative Assessment - Feedback

Source: Adpated from Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2006) Developing a theory of formative assessment. In J. Gardner (Ed.), Assessment and learning (pp. 81-100). London: Sage

Aligning with our School Improvement Plan (click arrow >>)

  • Target 2 – FORMATIVE FEEDBACK - Increase percentage indicators for use of success criteria as a basis for giving student feedback by 20%.


  1. Adaption of a whole school approach to feedback using a simple feedback / reflection tool. (See template below)

  2. Members of the Teaching & Learning Committee to develop exemplars of the tool cited in 1 above to share with colleagues.

  3. Subject Depts. to explore a range of formative feedback strategies to “feed forward” suggestions for further success:

    • relate the feedback to the Learning Intention and Success Criteria;

    • identify where success has occurred;

    • set a goal for improvement

    • show where and how improvement could take place;

    • allow time for students to make improvements.

  4. Subject Depts. / individual teachers are encouraged to use ‘success criteria’ to support peer and/or student self-assessment.

  5. Subject Depts will endeavour to align subject planning with this SIP target.

    • In initial Subject Dept meetings, respective subject teams should discuss formative feedback strategies .

Teacher Resources and Links

Whole School Feedback template 2021-22 - CLICK HERE

Whole School Feedback example (Maths) 2021-22 - CLICK HERE

Ladder of Giving Feedback download (JCT) - Click HERE

Using the Ladder of Feedback Template - Click HERE

Peer Feedback (JCT) - CLICK HERE

Active Learning Methodologies / Instructional Leadership

Active Learning Methodologies (PDST) - Click HERE

Abbey VS Teaching & Learning Handbook (2021-2022)- Click HERE