Focus on Formative Feedback for Teaching Development

By Dr. Cheryl Jeffs, EdD and Ykje Piera, MEDes

July 2016

If you have ever found yourself wondering why students sometimes experience difficulty with an assignment or with a particular teaching strategy, you are not alone. The ‘inner world’ of learning is not something we can readily observe. Formative feedback can provide a window on how students are learning to enable us to respond to learning challenges in real time, and – most importantly – to support students more effectively in their learning.

This guide is for anyone who teaches in higher education, or who is preparing to teach. The focus of this guide is on how formative feedback can be used to improve both the learning experiences of students and the teaching experiences of instructors.

The purpose of this guide is to provide a model for effectively approaching the process of collecting, interpreting and responding to formative feedback, and practical resources to begin, or enhance your formative feedback practice.

This guide includes:

  • an explanation of formative feedback
  • evidence that formative feedback is a valuable strategy for enhancing teaching and learning
  • lenses to view the perspectives of formative feedback (Brookfield, 1995)
  • a model to guide the formative feedback process, which builds upon Brookfield’s (1995) lenses
  • sample techniques and strategies
  • resources (online and print) to support formative feedback practices
  • a summary of scholarly literature related to formative feedback

Formative feedback is a process, and this document is designed to introduce the concepts, guide you through the process, and apply a formative feedback model.

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