At Sandringham, we use an approach to feedback called ReAct which is designed to put the onus of feedback onto the student. In the words of Dylan Wiliam, the first fundamental principle of effective classroom feedback is that feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor.
The image on the right has been designed to articulate how teachers can design their feedback so that it has the biggest impact on learning. Ensuring feedback is specific and provides meaningful opportunities for students to improve their work is important. However, if we provide too much specific feedback at the task level, students may struggle to transfer it to future tasks. Dylan Wiliam also reminds us that the aim of feedback isn’t to change the work, it is to change the student. Therefore, designing feedback in such a way that improves subsequent pieces of work is a longer term goal of effective feedback.
We know that this area is extremely complicated and that the evidence is far from conclusive or exhaustive. The following pieces of research evidence are nonetheless helpful in terms of appreciating the nature of the debate and recommendations for practice. According to the EEF Toolkit, feedback is claimed to have the potential to provide students with the greatest amount of progress (eight additional months). The Power of Feedback by Hattie and Timperley is a seminal paper on effective approaches to feedback. However, in one important Meta Analysis, 38% of feedback experiments had a negative effect on learners (Kluger and DeNisi, 1996). There are also many challenges involved in this aspect of teaching. Nearly every teacher will mention the challenge of workload, and hence why reports such as the EEF’s A Marked Improvement is helpful to consider the type and frequency of effective feedback.