Providing Effective Feedback on Writing Samples

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  • 00:00 Effective Feedback…
  • 00:46 Benefits of Effective Feedback
  • 2:17 Providing Effective Feedback
  • 4:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Providing effective feedback on writing samples is imperative for student improvement in the learning process. Effective feedback actually begins before a writing starts and continues after the student has submitted the assignment.

Effective Feedback Introduction

Here is Fred. Fred is taking a creative writing class at school. He is working hard on his assignments. Fred diligently completes each task assigned and always submits his assignments on time. But, at the end of the class, Fred is shocked to receive a 'D' grade.

Fred has no idea why he got a 'D' and doesn't know what he could have done to get a better grade. His teacher did not give effective feedback, or helpful information given to students in an effort to correct and guide their progress toward desired goals.

Without feedback, he could not correct his past mistakes nor learn from them. Improvement and personal growth were impossible because he was never made aware that he was not progressing in a positive way.

Benefits of Effective Feedback

Fred was very confused by his grade. How could he have known he wasn't meeting the teacher's standards without any feedback through the whole course? Obviously, providing clarity and understanding are two major benefits of effective feedback. There are other benefits as well.

Feedback encourages students' confidence when praise is included. When teachers tell students what they have done right, it encourages students to progress toward goals. It enables students to improve in a timely manner. Feedback given quickly can give students a chance to correct past mistakes for the next assignment. This gives them a feeling of success and accomplishment.

Feedback can help prevent feelings of hopelessness during the learning process. Fred probably felt pretty hopeless when he got his grade. How could he be expected to have learned from a class when he was never told that he wasn't doing things right? Proper feedback gives students that sense of power in understanding their mistakes and being able to adjust for future assignments.

Finally, feedback enables students to be better able to identify good work versus bad work, thus giving them control of their own learning. By providing feedback that allows students the opportunity to identify good and bad work on their own, they become more invested in the process and are able to provide their own feedback as they complete work.

Knowing the benefits of effective feedback is just the first step. How does an instructor offer effective feedback on writing samples?

Providing Effective Feedback

Feedback starts before the students begin to work on a writing assignment. Providing clear instructions and criteria is the first step to great feedback. If students know exactly what is expected, they are better able to perform to the standard required. Using a detailed rubric, given to students ahead of the assignment, allows students to understand the precise criteria that will be graded.

Giving students time for peer review and discussion of the assignment and allowing for questions are good ways to begin the feedback process before writing begins. Finally, publicizing good and bad examples for students to review gives them the ability to begin to see what is expected.

After an assignment has been completed, teachers can offer effective feedback in many ways. It is important that all feedback be given in a timely manner so that the student is still in the learning mode of the assignment. If feedback is given too late, the student cannot learn from it nor improve his or her performance.

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