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Part 4 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Accessible Feedback

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional
Part 2 - Engaging with Criteria
Part 3 - Actively Seeking Feedback

So far we've established that students need to be emotionally open to feedback, they need to understand the grading criteria, and they should be encouraged to seek out feedback. Your students are primed and ready for meaningful feedback...but then it never comes. According to my students and students across the globe, this is common. They know they need feedback but they aren't getting enough...or maybe it's just not getting to them?

In order for feedback to be useful it must be accessible. This means that it must arrive in a timely manner, it must make it to them both literally and cognitively, and it must be comprehendible. If you've done the working of orienting students to the criteria, that can help with feedback comprehension but it's not the full solution. In the words of one of my students, "I know what you're saying, Ms. Witcher, I just don't know what it means about my work."


  • Digital Tools: Digital tools are a game-changer when it comes to supporting students in both receiving timely feedback and engaging with it. Our tool, Floop, helps students engage with feedback by responding conversationally to comments. Tools like Flip Grid and the OneNote collaboration space let students engage with peer feedback with multimedia. Tools like Kaizena allow for teacher feedback in various forms (written, oral, and video).

  • DIRT: Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) is a practice gaining traction in the UK. The idea is that you regularly set aside time in your classroom for students to process feedback, reflect, and revise work for learning. This practice can be adopted into your existing classroom but works best when integrated into a larger grading system that values revision and improvement. During this time I ask students explicitly to respond to any feedback questions I've asked. This dialogue ensures that they are fully reading and processing their feedback information.
  • Feedback Protocols: Developing protocols for accessing feedback can make a huge difference in supporting students in using the feedback to improve. In my classroom we have routines that include (1) how I notify students of available feedback, (2) how they access and process feedback, (3) how they engage with feedback to make sense of it, (4) how they can get more feedback or give feedback to others. By incorporating these predictable and regular protocols into your instructional sequence, you help students develop a lifelong feedback literacy that will transfer forward to new, less structured learning environments. 

Building a Holistic Feedback System

These strategies meet the following criteria

Actionable Information

☐ Focuses feedback on task, process, or regulation
✓  Supports timely communication of feedback information
☐ Structures feedback to include information about goals, progress, and activities for improvement
☐ Aligns feedback with standards and criteria
✓  Supports a variety of assessment and feedback types

Feedback Literacy

☐ Supports guided self-assessment
☐ Supports guided peer-assessment
☐ Supports worked examples
☐ Supports engagement with grading criteria
☐ Asks students to specify the feedback they would like to receive 
✓  Encourages students to thoroughly read feedback information
☐ Encourages students to revisit prior feedback information
☐ Emphasizes the connection of one assignment to the broader learning outcomes

☐ Supports a positive relationship between feedback provider and recipient

Agency to Act

☐ Makes evident when feedback information has been used to improve work
☐ Promotes dialogue and discussion around feedback information
☐ Supports sequencing of tasks to promote application of feedback
☐ Supports sharing of tailored resources or alignment of resources with learning needs

☐ Supports goal-setting and reflection in response to feedback
☐ Supports development and execution of an improvement or revision plan
☐ Supports revision and resubmitting of work
☐ Supports the organization of feedback to reveal patterns and themes
☐ Supports the showcasing of work that evidences growth in response to feedback


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