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Effective Feedback for Student Growth

  • Teaching Strategies
  • Inclusive & Equitable Teaching
  • Assessment

Last modified: October 3, 2022

Feedback is one of the most powerful tools instructors can use to influence student learning.

Set Students up for Success

Giving whole-class feedback about strategies used by successful students can help start students off strong. 

  • Encourage students to use metacognitive strategies
    • One way to do this is to narrate your thought process out loud when giving a demonstration
  • Help students schedule blocks of time to complete work
    • Ask students to use a calendar to map out time for homework or plan out a complex project
  • Give time estimates for assignments to help students plan (and understand the level of work expected)
    • Sharing models of past work or sample work can be helpful, too
  • Let students know about support services (Learning Center, Writing Center, Library) AND reinforce that successful students use these resources
  • Set high expectations and let students know you have confidence that they can meet them

Encourage a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a belief that intelligence is not "fixed," and that a person can improve in a subject with effort and support.

  • Teach students about the concept of growth mindset
  • Help students see that mistakes are a part of the learning process
  • Provide support for successful habits
  • Use “wise feedback” framing statements (see below for more on this)
  • Consider your own mindset - how can you demonstrate a growth mindset to your students?

In-Class Feedback

For incorrect answers:

  • Can you say more about that?
  • This is an important misconception. Let’s look at it more deeply.
  • I’m glad you mentioned that. It is a common misconception. Let’s look more closely at…
  • I also struggled with this concept when I first encountered it.
  • A lot of students have difficulty with this.

Feedback on Assignments

Managing Feedback

Even though giving feedback is very important, it can also be time-consuming to implement. Here are a few tips to help manage your workload:

  • Keep a document where you can save frequently used feedback & comments
  • Come up with several “wise feedback” statements that you can reuse
  • If you notice that you are consistently giving the same feedback, reflect on your instruction and assignment to see if they need changes
  • If students aren't reading or using the feedback you give:
    • Have them incorporate the feedback into the assignment and resubmit
    • Ask them to write a response to your feedback
    • Share the feedback first, and once students have read the feedback, then release the grade for the assignment