Feedback is not Marking

The old-fashioned image of a solitary tutor wading through piles of marking has proven to do very little to raise achievement, because:

  • Learners don’t always read the written feedback they receive;
  • If learners read their feedback, they don’t necessarily understand it; and
  • Even when it is understood, learners might not act on it in a way that helps them make progress.

Feedback, on the other hand, should be interactive and collaborative. It’s part of a working partnership and not limited to achieving success in assignments or exams.

The Ofsted outstanding criteria require that:

Learners are making substantial and sustained progress as a result of incisive feedback.

Therefore, feedback must be impactful, resulting in positive change, as opposed to merely indicating correct and incorrect answers in the work that associates are producing.
An interesting piece of research conducted jointly by The Sutton Trust and The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), suggests that effective feedback can accelerate learning by up to 8 months. On a 12 month programme like ours, this is highly significant.

When giving feedback, tutors, assessors and mentors should also promote English, mathematics, ICT and employability skills where appropriate.

In those instances where it is possible for associates to achieve the units comprising their qualification without correct and accurate numeracy and literacy, we would be doing them a disservice by ignoring these. Even if we don’t, they will be held to account further down the line for incidences of poor spelling, grammar, punctuation and basic mathematical ability.

On the Step Forward programme, opportunities to give feedback are many and varied, including conversation, demonstration and observation.

Within our delivery team, verbal, non-verbal and written feedback are given to and received by associates, tutors, assessors, mentors and employers. The following checklist is useful for pathway training, PD training, ILP visits, assessment visits, assignments, exams and one-to-one meetings:

 

Feedback Review Checklist

  1. Do the associates understand the assessment criteria and what members of staff are looking for?
  2. Are the associates assessed regularly?
  3. Are there examples of comments that give appropriate advice?
    Do staff pose questions as part of their feedback or identify specific areas for improvement?
  4. Are associates made aware of spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and numerical errors?
  5. Do associates respond to feedback?
    Does their work and/or behaviour show progress over time?
  6. Are there areas of good practice to share?
    Are there areas of strength in the associates’ work?

 

Further Reading
Bentley-Davis, C., (2014) How to be an Amazing Middle Leader: Crown House Publishing Ltd.
Gadsby, C., (2012) Perfect Assessment for Learning: Independent Thinking Press.

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