Maryellen Weimer, professor emerita at Penn State and editor of The Teaching Professor blog, recently published a blog post tackling why feedback is such a challenge to provide and to act on. She begins this way:
Sometimes feedback leads to better performance, but not all the time and not as often as teachers would like, given the time and effort they devote to providing students feedback. It’s easy to blame students who seem interested only in the grade—do they even read the feedback? Most report that they do, but even those who pay attention to it don’t seem able to act on it—they make the same errors in subsequent assignments. Why is that?
This is true for nearly every teacher’s experience, and it is exponentially true for our experience with the teachers and students who use Eli Review.
Let’s focus on this statement from Weimer’s piece:
Because they evaluate student work so regularly, teachers bring to the task a working knowledge of these concepts. Unfortunately, they provide feedback assuming students have the same knowledge, which Sadler contends they do not.
This is consistent with the larger research and often cited as a reason why peer feedback can sometimes be more effective. Peers have the same working knowledge and so leverage a shared language (and knowledge) that sometimes has impact.
The remainder of the piece offers good advice to teachers for providing more effective feedback to their students. It’s important to note the care with which teachers need to think through how they respond to students—making that response *feedback* and not a form of response disconnected from learning goals.
The same care needs to be taken when framing peer feedback for students. Both teacher and peer feedback are key components of good pedagogy and care must be taken while constructing effective feedback prompts.
Original Post: Why Doesn’t Teacher Feedback Improve Student Performance?