Teachers should consider this principle ifthey want to refine their feedback focus so it maximizes reception and implementation of feedback.

Put yourself in the position of the learner for a moment. The teacher has discussed the nature of the task, taught some content related to the task, shared a completed example of the task, and reviewed the assessment rubric. Following this, the student does their best to complete the task in accordance with the shared learning goals and assessment criteria. However, when they receive their piece of work back from the teacher, it has circles and underlines addressing spelling and grammar issues, and comments relating to the structure of the writing. In contrast to this, there is very little information provided on the progress towards the learning goal of the task, or what next steps should be taken that are related to the task.

In many classrooms, the learning goals that are communicated to students and the instruction that follows do not always align with the focus of the feedback that they receive upon completing set tasks. Based on this, teachers should be very focused on delivering feedback that is connected to the goals and criteria of each task. This feedback should identify any areas of growth as well as the next steps to be taken. Grammar and punctuation are important at the right time, however, developing deeper levels of conceptual understanding should not be hindered by simple spelling or grammatical issues.

When this principle is in action:

The teacher…

– Connects feedback to the learning goals, lessons, writing exemplars, and rubrics shared with the students.
– Does not overly focus on elements of the task that do not relate to classroom instruction or the assessment criteria.
– Gives students an opportunity to create their own rubrics related to the learning goals and exemplars shared with them.
– Determines where a student sits in relation to these goals and identifies the next steps needed for mastery of the task.
– Provides feedback to the student on how they can continue to refine the task-specific skills in continued study or follow-up tasks.
– Keyset can be used to insert reteaching videos or links to class resources.

The student…

– Knows exactly where their level of performance on the tasks is in relation to the learning goals and assessment criteria.
– Has a clear understanding of what they need to do next if they want to improve their performance on the task.


Learning goals and feedback

Black & Wiliam, Assessment and classroom learning

A scholarly approach to solving the feedback dilemma in practice (p. 943)

Hattie & Timperley, Power of Feedback