When assignments are graded two sorts of information are generated: how well students understand course material, and how effective instruction has been. Both types of information support adjustments in practice. Students have the chance to try new study strategies if needed, and faculty members can adjust their instruction if necessary. Once grading is complete, students need feedback on their achievements. The quality and nature of the feedback determine how effectively students are able to respond.
The most effective feedback is timely and clearly articulated. Students are highly interested in feedback shortly after an assessment, and their interest falls off as time passes and the course content moves on. An interesting exercise is to talk with students about what the marks on their papers, tests, assignments or projects mean to them. The intent of the instructor and the meaning made by the student are often far different. New faculty members must be thoughtful about the nature of their feedback and build in time to effectively respond to student work in order to maximize the impact of the instructor response.
Prioritize your ideas. Limit your feedback to the most important issues. Consider the feedback’s potential value to the receiver and how you would respond – could you act on the feedback? As well, too much feedback provided at a single time can be overwhelming to the recipient.
Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas the Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Frisbie, David A., and Kristie K. Waltman. "Developing a personal grading plan." Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 11, no. 3 (1992): 35-42.
Reynolds, Laura. "Giving student feedback: 20 tips to do it right." InformEd, June 11, 2013.
Walvoord, Barbara E. Fassler, and Virginia Johnson Anderson. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.