5 Ways to Provide Actionable Feedback to Students


Students generally succeed based on the quality of feedback they receive. It is the duty of instructors to provide them with timely instruction as if learning was a journey with destinations to be discovered. Regular test results only show how far they have traveled or how much further they have to go, but actionable feedback is what allows children to become meaningfully self-directed towards their goals.5 Ways to Provide Actionable Feedback to Students

Feedback needs to more than just saying what’s correct or incorrect, but also to provide students with the information they need to correct errors by themselves. Feedback directed at the self level, i.e.; “Good job!” or “Do better next time” are less useful. When students are compared to each other rather than the task at hand, it hampers motivation. It is also a concern for teachers how much time and effort it would take to give constant and meaningful feedback on the individual level.

Instead of dreading the increased workload, here are the top five forms of instruction that help teachers deliver actionable feedback within the classroom.

  • Class Discussions

Class discussions often provide the most immediate and satisfying feedback to students. Are you asking in a way that provokes complex responses and answers that build upon what others have said? Questions such as “What make you think that?” and “Tell me more” and aiming to connect textual understanding with personal experiences help students learn more than just being told if they were correct or incorrect. Students should be encouraged to produce their own questions and deepen their knowledge instead of being a passive receiver of knowledge.

  • Reciprocal Teaching

Through reciprocal teaching, wherein students are arranged into small reading groups and asks students to share in the role of teaching, learners gain more personal feedback and come to understand how to provide it to others. Here, they formulate and ask each other questions that predict, clarify, and summarize the content they have just studied. The teacher models the pattern of asking questions and gradually reduces support as students learn to critically examine the text and their own responses.

  • Differentiated Instruction

Adapting course instructions to varying skill levels and learning needs is part of broader school reform movement that reveals improved reading fluency development than the traditional large-group approach. Teachers may achieve personalized instruction to address differences in learning styles by differentiating the process and allowing students alternate means to express their understanding of the concepts being taught. Students may also be allowed to choose independent reading, buddy reading, enrichment activities, and other options. In this way, repetition is avoided while students who need it receive further instructions and reteaching.

  • Data-driven Instruction

This is a systematic effort that involves school-wide and even district-wide efforts to improve instructional responsiveness and decision-making by collecting combining data about student learning, demographics, school procedures, and teacher insight to create appropriate plans and share proven strategies.

The capacity to give more accurate, more frequent, and more personalized feedback is aided by information technology applications and diffusing responsibility through self-and-peer assessment activities.

  • Response-to-Intervention Tiered Instruction

The RTI model incorporates differentiated instruction in three levels of support based on student performance. RTI aims to provide early and systematic assistance to students who show difficulty learning, and the process more clearly identifies those students differently to those who simply have low achievement rates due to other factors. Intense support is given to build proficiencies.

RTI practices in the first Tier give students universal core curriculum instruction and group-based interventions. Students who exhibit difficulty that is not based on insufficient instruction are moved to the Tier 2 Level of intervention. Here, small groups may meet several times a week for additional instruction in foundational skills. This form of targeted intervention – not some form of make-up class – generally should not exceed a grading period in duration.

Tier 3 of RTI involves comprehensive individualized intervention to resolve student skill deficits. Evaluation of data collected through Tiers 1, 2, and 5 are used to decide if the student is entitled to Special Education approaches. At all levels, parents are involved in receiving and giving feedback, taking part in procedures that resolve learning difficulties increase motivation.