Types of Feedback

Types of Feedback

22526 views | Alice | 04-01-2018

Types of feedback

Feedback is an essential part of communication. In its absence, communication can’t possibly be effective. It is the only way to appraise whether the original message has been decoded correctly or not. Feedback in education helps both students and teachers strengthen the learning process and can help students improve the chances of their success. There are various types of feedback and learning about them is the most important part of the assessment process. The Assessor courses focus on ways and techniques to give feedback to learners on a range of qualifications including NVQs and Apprenticeships. Below you will find a summary of some of the most popular types of feedback. 

Written or verbal

Firstly, whichever types of feedback you use, it will be either verbal or non-verbal. Verbal communication involves exchanging ideas through word of mouth including ‘face-to-face’, telephone or Zoom/Teams/Skype etc. Globally, verbal feedback and communication is not generally considered to be formal unless it is recorded (video / audio / text) for later review. Verbal feedback usually takes place all the time, during class activities or after any assessments are done. Similarly, the assessor qualification course, also known as the Level 3 CAVA / A1 course teaches assessors to formulate written and verbal feedback that they later give to apprentices or NVQ learners in their specialist area.

On the other hand, non-verbal types of feedback include body language and written communication. Body language is very important and is mostly in play during both verbal and non-verbal communication. In fact, it is generally accepted that over 93% of the message or impact of our message is conveyed through face and body language. This may be the reason why emojis are so popular (even in office communication) in written media where body language is otherwise missing. 

The correct body language can make the difference between intimidating a student or motivating and supporting them with your feedback. Written feedback can include emails, reports, checklists, journals, records of discussions, or social media. While written feedback is usually considered a formal way of interaction, social media and messaging apps are exceptions where the written communication is informal and casual. In educational systems, formal written feedback is given through progress reports to both teachers (assessed work observations) and students (assessment feedback).

Feedback sandwich (praise, criticism, praise)

Feedback should always be introduced with something positive like praise in order to sound polite to the receiver. Start off with positive comments and praise, add constructive criticism in the middle so that the outcomes can be measurably improved. Then conclude with some more positive comments to raise the motivational level and encourage the student(s) to work towards achieving the required criteria. Assessors themselves as well as students should welcome constructive criticism so that they can improve continuously throughout their assessing/learning journey. 

Feedback Sandwich

‘Medal and Mission’

This is one of the most well-known types of feedback. ‘Medals’ in feedback refer to giving positive statements to the students so that they work with intrinsic motivation. These statements could include, for example, praise about the good sentence structure, proper use of punctuation and a good use of factual data for a written assignment. This would keep the student encouraged to keep up the good work. However, the ‘Mission’ includes statements that would help him/her correct or improve the weaker areas of the work done by the student. These statements could include the idea of improvement in sentence structure and heavier use of factual data in the same assignment. The a1 assessor course requires you to give feedback to your learners on assignments in a way that is motivational as well as developmental. 

SMART Goals driven by Assessment Criteria

The goals given during any of these types of feedback should always be specific, measurable, accurate, realistic and time bound (SMART). The motive behind any type of feedback should be to have a clear goal that has been set by the instructor. It helps not only the teacher but also the student to have a clear idea of what has to be achieved. It is then easier for the student to know exactly what has to be done by them and for the teacher to measure the performance of the students according to the set criteria. 

Non-judgemental

Regardless of which types of feedback you use, it should never be judgemental, biased or derogatory. The assessor should try not to give statements pertaining to concepts such as good or bad and right or wrong and should avoid using words such as terrible, fault, incorrect and mistake. Moreover, personal attacks and negative connotations should be completely avoided. During all activities as an assessor you should remain within your professional boundaries and legal guidelines as provided in the Equality Act 2000. To understand the Equality Act 2000 better, you can do a short CPD course on Equality and Diversity which elaborates on the Act itself along with ways to promote equality and diversity in the classroom, using communication strategies to promote equality and diversity and many more aspects.

Moreover, the assessor qualification course teaches its learners to be fair to all their learners irrespective of their protected characteristics. It is ideal to judge learners based on their work performance rather than anything else.

1:1 or Group

I find direct, in-person 1:1 feedback works more effectively as compared to the written types of feedback. Verbal 1:1 feedback involves tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Moreover, it is interactive in nature which can make the students question any judgement made by the teacher. Also, it is easy for the teacher to soften their approach if they see that the students’ facial expressions become intense, lost or defensive etc. Verbal feedback can occur 1:1 or as a group. While giving feedback to a group or class together may be beneficial to cover general points, I find that generally, 1:1 customised feedback has much more impact. There is less room for misunderstandings and you can really focus on the motivational factors and learner preferences of the individual in question.

In the a1 assessor course, learners are given feedback on their assessments individually. The learner's performance is assessed based on pre-set criteria regulated by the awarding body. 

Self and Peer assessment 

Peer assessment refers to individuals assessing each other according to the relevant assessment criteria and learning outcomes. It helps the students to take responsibility for their learning, making it much more andragogical. It also helps them get a better grip on the benchmarks set by instructors. Moreover, it brushes up the analytical skills of the students. Once the students completely understand the assessment criteria, there would be less burden on the teachers to remain at the centre of the feedback exercise. Additionally, when peers are assessing each other, it is easier for them to understand what the other person is saying as the level of knowledge and interests of both would be the same. However, in peer assessment, students might feel reluctant to mark each other due to limited knowledge about the subject, or for fear of retaliation or non-acceptance from a peer. Therefore, peer assessment and feedback activities should be designed carefully.

Group discussions that are a part of a1 assessor course help learners in interacting with peer learners from different specialist backgrounds. These discussions help them assess and understand each other as well as understand their own areas of strengths and weaknesses. We highly recommend that you take on the a1 assessor course that will help you understand the technical aspect of feedback in assessment practices. Moreover, in order to keep your learners motivated and focused, you can also do a short course on Teacher Training to keep your lessons interesting. You can also opt for a shorter and cheaper CPD course on Assessor theory which has all the content from theory only except for the assignments as a requirement from the awarding body.

Self-assessment refers to evaluating one’s own self according to various methods like the SWOT analysis or Gibbs Reflective Cycle. This also helps to continuously improve your own knowledge and skills and is a crucial part of the teaching, learning and quality assurance processes in Education in the UK and abroad

In conclusion, it is important to use both, verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Your aim should be to get the message across effectively for which feedback plays the most vital role. You must learn to give and receive feedback and improve your practice. You can also do CPD courses or the a1 assessor course which will not only improve your current work practice but also help you  gain knowledge and assess others in your specialist area.

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