Dollops of Feedback!

The most powerful single modification that enhances achievement is feedback. The simplest prescription for improving education must be “dollops of feedback”.
Hattie, J.A. (1992). Measuring the effects of schooling. Australian Journal of Education (see page 9).

Exam Reflection 8

Marking the examination papers for my Year 8 students (UK age 12-13) has made me think about the feedback I want to give them. I want to help them understand any misconceptions they have and what steps they need to make to improve. 

Having marked the set of papers I can see common misconceptions so I thought this time I would provide my students with a list that they could traffic light as we review their examination. There is also room for their own comments. Once they have reflected on their performance and decided what they need to focus on I will give them some further questions. I believe we should also reflect on their revision techniques and strategies.

I will also provide them with a form they can complete with the possible marks for each question so they can write in their own marks.

The list has obviously been designed for this particular test, but in case it is useful for providing ideas, you can download it here:
Exam review checklist (Excel)

Exam review checklist (pdf)

The reference to the gritty attitude comes from Angela Lee Duckworth.

Further References

Geoff Petty on feedback

Feedback – how am I doing?
This booklet summarises a survey of feedback and marking in key stages 2 and 3 which was completed under the Education Development Plan (EDP) over several months in 2000 – 2001. A team of 19 advisers and advisory teachers were involved and they focused their observations on practice which was making a discernible difference to students’ learning.

Mike Gershon – The Whole Class Feedback Guide (hosted on TES Resources – registration is free)
25 strategies for eliciting feedback from an entire class of students.

3 comments on “Dollops of Feedback!

  1. Ben and Nordin – thank you for your thoughtful replies. Nordin as you say, I also usually discuss the common errors as we review a test and expect them to note down details of what they need to check carefully. I wondered if I could help them in this process with my list, I hope that is indeed the case – I shall find out!

  2. Reblogged this on brouse and commented:
    This post appeared in my reader as I was in the middle of preparing a google form for my year 8 class after their assessment. I have been playing around with feedback this year and my current approach is to create a google form so the students can RAG each question once I have marked their work. The google form has a script which emails them with links to video explanations for any topic they rank as red or amber. So why have both red and amber if they get the same video? This means I have feedback on which topics need closer attention so planning is done based on their feedback.
    Having read this post I am now trying to think about a way of incorporating the checklist into the process….
    Great stuff Colleen

  3. Thanks for showing the benefit of actually writing down the list of common errors/misconceptions after an assessment. I think most teachers spend time in class going through a test, sharing and discussing the common errors, but for myself at least, it’s rare I actually write them down on a sheet to hand out – especially for junior classes. It takes times, but clearly it’s well worth the effort! Helping students look at their errors with confidence and honesty is I believe on of the most important learning tools we can give. You might like to see my take on taming fear of “the error monster” at

    One final thought, the hidden benefit in the feedback you describe, which Hattie makes very clear, is the effect on you as a teacher 🙂 possibly an even more powerful effect than that on the students. By knowing clearly what students got wrong, we know what we need to teach/reteach more clearly, or in a different way, or just do more of. The pay off is not only for our current class, but for classes in years to come as we improve our own teaching and increase our awareness of student misconceptions.

    Thanks again for a great post.

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