Feedback models

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Feedback is an important part of learning. However, the way in which feedback is given can either support or undermine learning. Feedback can be informal or formal and linked to assessments. Feedback is a major factor in using assessment to support learning.

Gibbs (2010) describes five pedagogic principles underlying the use of feedback to support learning.

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  1. Sufficient feedback needs to be provided, both often enough and in enough detail.
  2. Feedback should focus on students' performance, on their learning and on actions under the students' control, rather than on the students themselves and on their characteristics.
  3. Feedback should be timely: received by students while it still matters to them and in time for them to pay attention to further learning or receive further assistance.
  4. Feedback should be appropriate in relation to students' understanding of what they are supposed to be doing.
  5. Feedback needs to be received and attended to.
  6. Feedback should be provided in such a way that students act on it and change their future studying.

Gibbs, G. (2010). Using Assessment to Support Learning. UK: University of East Anglia. (pp.11 - 23.)

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1. View two short videos showing different ways to give feedback - good, bad and ugly.
2. Explore the Feedback and Learning Support material on the Resources page to look further.
Make sure you refer to Spiller, D. (2009). Assessment: Feedback to promote student learning. Hamilton, New Zealand: Teaching Development, The University of Waikato. A diagram of a very useful four level feedback model by Hattie and Timperley (2007) is on page 10. The article is available in the Robertson library or you can contact your facilitator for a copy.
3. What feedback models or processes do you prefer?


Extra resources

  • View the video (52 min) of Professor Graham Gibbs giving a keynote address How Assessment Can Support or Undermine Learning. He discusses the influence of feedback on learning.