Tips and Tricks for Providing Quality Performance Feedback

Feedback is a highly nuanced skill that every educator needs to develop. While grading is often guided by outside standards or easily quantified metrics, feedback has less structure around it. What kinds of feedback are out there? How do can you, as an educator, give feedback effectively?

Giving feedback is disseminating information to students about their progress. Sometimes feedback is given to the whole class; at other times it is given to small groups or individuals. The aim of performance feedback is to help students understand where the problem is and what they can do to solve it.

Two types of feedback need to be differentiated: performance feedback and correction feedback. Performance feedback is concerned with the information that students receive after completing an assignment. The teacher shows the students the extent of their success and failure and gives them advice. Correction, on the other hand, may occur during the process of completing the assignment. Later in this discussion, you’ll explore different techniques for appropriately applying performance feedback and correction.

As mentioned, feedback can either tarnish or boost a student’s self-concept, and it can depend on whether you deliver the information about their performance positively or negatively. You should share your expectations with the students, including what you require of them on a day-to-day basis, what goals they’re supposed to reach, and what steps they can take to reach those goals. This is considered the heart of effective classroom feedback.

You should also bear in mind that feedback needs to be balanced. In other words, you should tell students what they’ve already been able to master and then move on to telling them of other areas that still need revising, as well as the best way to go about it. Praise is important when giving feedback. It may be as simple as saying “Nice job!” or could involve a more detailed analysis. This type of encouragement is of great importance for less-confident students. Feedback criteria should be defined according to the teacher’s expectations for individual students. Some students may need lots of encouragement to speak up in class, and therefore a teacher should avoid overcorrecting the student too frequently, while confident students may be able to handle more correction.

In this article, we talk about the basics and take a look at the category of “performance” feedback. However, that’s not the only kind of feedback out there. Educators also need to know how to deliver “corrective” feedback. If you’re unsure of what that means, or how to give it, check out our follow-up article, “Educators: Ensure Your Corrective Feedback Is Top-Notch.”

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