By Guest Author Kenneth Waldman
Formative assessment is one of the best ways of improving the process of studying. Key to this process is recognizing the weaknesses and white spots in students’ knowledge and making efforts to improve their understanding. Moreover, as we all know, a final grade is not the purpose of formative assessment and that may be the reason why formative assessment is the most effective way of learning.
Instead of grades, there are ways to communicate progress that are more meaningful to students. One of the methods is to give your opinion and advice to a student is constructive feedback. This is how students can see all mistakes and the ways to avoid them in future.
Here are some tips for writing effective constructive feedback, which can be helpful for your students and help you develop as a teacher:
This is the first and maybe the most important rule of giving the feedback if you want it to have some influence on the recipient. If you see some mistakes in the task or something that could have been written in better way, you should point it out. Never try to avoid constructive criticism, it will not help your students to improve.
Try to find positive moments
Even if the answer of the student is full of mistakes, even if it looks awful, it has to have something in it that can be appreciated. Remember you are the one who can easily bring the self-appraisal of the student down. So your main task is to point out the areas of growth in an honest but at the same time tactful way, finding the words to tell something pleasantly. The best model for effective feedback is good thing – area of growth – steps to improve. Following this model will lead to a positive result. Students will see they are constantly improving and the next time they will put more effort into doing the task.
Show every student they have room to grow
When you write feedback on a task, which is done perfectly, avoid resounding praises. Of course, you should appreciate the work. You can say that their work is great, you can notice points, which have impressed you most of all. However, at the same time try to find something that needs improvement. It could be even some tiny thing but it will show your student that they should not stop, that there are ways to further their development.
When giving the feedback, you need to be specific and determined. Give the student concrete pieces of advice, pointing out areas that you both can recognize as areas for growth. It will be easier for the student to improve and you will see that in a clear way.
It is necessary for you to find the words, which do not hurt the recipient. Even though it might be hard to find things to praise, try to deliver the information with tact. Remember that kind words have more influence on the person because they provoke the striving for improvement and therefore you can achieve better results with kindness rather than with sharp critique.
Giving constructive feedback seems to be easy but it demands tact and mindfulness. It is hard enough to find the happy medium between criticism and generalization but it is a necessary endeavor in putting your students on the way to productive development. Formative assessment needs to be incorporated in all educational systems as one of the best ways of helping students achieve success and constructive feedback is an integral part of it.