How to Give Feedback?

| December 13, 2016
The first comment praises what works and works well in the text. It is important that any praise offered is genuine, specific and usable, rather than acting as a ‘bad blow cushion’ for any criticism that follows. So rather than simply writing ‘Great intro!’ write, ‘Your essay started off very well, with definitions and a clear, focused thesis’, which identifies the features that make it effective and reinforces what the tutor expects to find in an introduction.
The second comment presents questions related to gaps in the student’s knowledge and the paper’s argument or information for further consideration. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that students can sometimes read tutor’s questions as rhetorical so it is usually better to formulate questions as comments. For example, rather than beginning with ‘Why didn’t you . . .’ try starting with ‘I was left wondering about these points . . .’.
The final comment encourages the student to revise with specific advice about how to do this (e.g. ‘Next time, check your paper in these ways . . .’).
Burke, Deirdre, and Pieterick, Jackie. Giving Students Effective Written Feedback (1). Berkshire, GB: Open University Press, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 11 December 2016.
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