Feedback is probably the most important aspect of student learning, as it helps individuals assess their progress, see areas of improvement, and know the steps to take moving forward.
Below are four strategies for improving your writing feedback.
1. Be specific.
This may seem obvious, but it’s far too important to take lightly. Whether it’s a simple assignment or a term paper, be sure to tell your students where and how they are specifically lacking. Just putting a ‘+’ for good and ‘-‘ for parts that need improvement isn’t going to cut it. Leave personal notes, or if you don’t have the time, write something that says, ‘Talk to me after class,’ and share your thoughts in person. Or send a quick email.
Even positive comments like, ‘good writing,’ or ‘great,’ are too vague to really help the student see what he or she is doing well. Use language that is clear, rather than generalized.
1. Give ongoing feedback.
Follow up with your students after giving back their papers, have a secondary assignment to measure whether or not they edited with regard to your comments, and most importantly, don’t just leave feedback for the final product. Assess your students and give them your thoughts throughout the entire process so they’re continually improving, not just working towards a goal.
3. Give action-oriented feedback.
Don’t just comment on grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. as those are easy fixes; instead, focus on the content, ideas, sentence variety, or audience. Also, be sure to point students in a direction in which they can actually do something to improve in a certain area.
4. Be reasonable.
This is important to note. Even if your student is really struggling, try to focus positives, rather than just negatives. No one likes to get a totally marked-up paper returned to them. Even if there’s a lot to note that’s insufficient, be sure to do so in a way that encourages the student, rather than defeats.
Featured Image Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters