How to ensure that feedback leads to real learning

Different aspects of giving feedback to students and making it more effective are among the issues I’m interested in professionally and have done some research in.

Reflecting English

tharby_cracks_papering

Image: @jasonramasami

In our recent book, Making every lesson count, Shaun Allison and I have used the following diagram to introduce the idea that feedback is a two-way process:

feedback

The notion on the left, that feedback should inform planning, is often overlooked; instead, teacher-to-student feedback is very much the flavour of the month – to the extent that ‘quality of marking’ has now become an accepted measure of a teacher’s effectiveness. However, there is a logical error inherent in this way of thinking. Quality of feedback can only be contingent on the quality of the initial input. Harry, for example, might have received high-quality teaching and no written feedback from his teacher; Hannah, in another class, might have been the recipient of poor teaching and lots of remedial feedback. It is absurd to suggest that Harry’s teacher’s marking is of a lesser quality than Hannah’s teacher’s marking, without taking…

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