Effective Feedback


As we near the end of a semester, there seems to be questions on providing useful feedback. O’Donovan (2019) found that "What Makes Good Feedback Good" includes the feedback itself, the context, the assessment literacy and student expectations. They concluded that "standardizing the feedback or the timing of delivery is insufficient: a broader consideration of all domains of influence is needed.

An older 1996 study entitled "The Effects of Feedback Interventions on Performance" by Kluger and DeNisi found that feedback can change the locus of attention among general and hierarchically organized levels of control: task learning, task motivation, and meta-tasks processes. Thus, effectiveness actually decreased as attention moves up the hierarchy closer to the self and away from the task. Simply providing content feedback may not produce as positive results as a process focus.

Hattie and Timperley (2007) article on "The Power of Feedback" support this 1996 research finding that feedback is a major influence on learning, the type (positive or negative), timing and the way it is given can be differentially effective. They believe that effective feedback must answer three major questions:

  • Where am I going? (What are the goals?)

  • How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)

  • Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?)

The focus has four levels, Feedback can be ...

  1. about a task or product.

  2. aimed at the process used to create a product or task.

  3. focused at the self-regulation level, including greater skill in self-evaluation to engage a task.

  4. personal that it is directed to the “self,” which is often unrelated to performance.

Finally, yesterday the Chronicle just released "How to Give Your Students Better Feedback With Technology (2019)" which provide many updated resources.

O’Donovan, B., Outer, B., Price, M. & Lloyd, A. (2019) What makes good feedback good?, Studies in High Ed.

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254–284.

Opitz, B., Ferdinand, N. K., & Mecklinger, A. (2011). Timing matters: The impact of immediate and delayed feedback on artificial language learning. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 5(8).

Stuart, I. (2004). Impact of immediate feedback on performance. Global Perspectives on Account Ed: 1(1),

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). Power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112.

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