Reply To: Feedback 5: What are your guidelines for giving feedback to students?

NJ Professor

I agree with you, Jamie, that Howell’s suggestion to provide instructive feedback is particularly important, because it shows that the purpose of feedback is not solely to “identify a problem” but rather to guide students in improving their work for subsequent submissions. This is a critical part of the learning experience.

For me, the discussion of balanced feedback most closely aligns with my own writing center background and approach: to first address strengths and then provide strategies for improvement. Saying “Good job,” however, isn’t quite enough, as we need to tell students exactly where/in what instances they are doing a “good job” so they continue implementing those areas of strength into their future work.

I address what Howell refers to as “developmental feedback” most frequently during “paperventions,” when I share common errors with students and remind them of assignment requirements. Instead of writing this type of feedback on all students’ papers, I find it easier and more motivating to tell students collectively how important it is to learn how to properly cite research so they can publish in the future and how proofreading and revision are integral to their future roles as workplace professionals. I want all students to know this, regardless of whether they cite correctly and proofread well, so I share feedback related to professional performance aloud.