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Indicator 40 – Academic Feedback

Interacting With Students

Providing Feedback

Indicator 40 - Academic Feedback UETS 2d., 3b., 5b.

Effective teachers provide specific academic feedback, focused on content or student accomplishment, to help hesitant or anxious students discover correct answers or clarify facts and processes. Providing feedback means giving students an explanation of what they are doing correctly and incorrectly.  However, the focus of the feedback should be based essentially on what the students are doing right.  It is most productive to a student’s learning when they are provided with an explanation and example as to what is accurate and inaccurate about their work.


  1. Provide specific academic feedback, using a variety of responses by:
    • Acknowledging correct answers and strategies, e.g., that's right, correct
    • Providing short statements to students who are correct but unsure of themselves, e.g., that's correct, good
    • Re-stating briefly the steps used to arrive at the correct answer
    • Acknowledging specific strengths of the response
    • Correcting partially correct or incorrect responses
  1. Provide prompt response to student work and suggest appropriate corrective measures:
    • When a student answers a question with confidence, a short "Right" or "Very good" can be followed with another question. On the other hand, if a student hesitates yet still gives a correct answer, you can provide process feedback by saying, "Yes, that's right... "; then you can re-explain if necessary.
  1. Use "sustaining feedback" to give students a second chance to correct an answer:
    • Teacher: Can I compare apples to beans? Fred?
    • Fred: Yes, of course you can.
    • Teacher: Yesterday we talked about similarities and differences between things that are alike and unlike each other. We discussed how fruits are different from vegetables. If we can think back to yesterday's discussion, Fred, what can you tell us about comparing apples to beans?
    • Fred: Now I remember! An apple is a fruit and beans are vegetables. They are different and not similar.
    • Teacher: I appreciate that you were listening yesterday. You are right.
      • "Sustaining feedback" gives students the chance to reason through answers on their own and figure out an acceptable answer independently. This technique takes longer than simply providing students with "terminal feedback."
  1. Use "terminal feedback" to get to correct answers quickly. It supplies students with the correct answer by either giving it yourself, allowing another student to answer the question or letting someone call out the correct answer, especially when the pace of the lesson requires a correct answer immediately. Otherwise, letting students come up with a correct answer is the preferred method.
  2. Use "process feedback" to explain to students the process for figuring out a correct answer, especially if they appear hesitant or question their answer:
    • Teacher: If we look at the problem (2x + 3y) (x + y), how can we combine these into a single equation?
    • Student: By combining 2xx + 3yy?
    • Teacher: Okay, when we cross multiply 2x•x, we get 2x2, and when we multiply 3y•y, we get 3y2. Rather than saying 2 xx, which is 2x•x, we say 2x2 and 3y2.
  1. Tailor feedback to the kind of response you receive from a student. Simple responses merely require a "yes". More detailed responses require details about the strengths of the response.
  2. Review test data to identify errors in understanding by setting aside a specific time after a test has been completed and corrected. Teachers can discuss problems, allow students to see their rationale for deciding correct answers, and can eliminate misunderstandings.

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