Feedback & Feed-forwards: Making Feedback Work

To learn & grow effectively, you need to take charge of your feedback. 

  1. Make sure the descriptors are clear to you. Work towards them.
  2. Submit good-quality, self-assessed, early drafts with specific questions. Own the feedback.
  3. Put feedback before grades: think carefully about the information presented in the grid.
  4. Synthesise your “feed forwards”: specific, actionable targets for your improvement next time.

Feedback Type

Feedback: What do I need to pay attention to in the future?

Task Level

Feedback on the product.

What went well and what can I improve to move up a level?

What went well?                                What should I maintain or strengthen next time? 


What was limiting my achievement?    What should I focus on improving next time?


Process Level

Feedback on strategies to improve.

What can I do to move up a level?          How can I make the improvements in my work?



What feedback on my behavior/ approach to learning might help in this subject and others?

Draft submission:

  • Draft was / was not submitted for feedback
  • Draft feedback was / was not used to improve the work


  • Draft was / was not self-assessed with areas of feedback identified
  • Final was / was not accurately self-assessed


“Feed Forwards”

Student response to feedback (synthesis) 

Complete this, agree with the teacher and then see your grade. 

What have I learned from this feedback to help me improve?

Why present feedback this way? 

Feedback addresses three questions:

Feedback is timely, actionable and needs to be more work for the learner than the teacher.

Making The Four Levels Work

  1. Goals and outcomes need to be clear - do students & teachers have a shared understanding of what success looks like at different levels of achievement?
  2. Feedback needs to be ongoing. Students are taught to self-assess in the drafting stages and feedback (not grading) given on the drafts with plenty of time to take action before submission.
  3. Students self-assess before submission. Even better - they can peer-assess and give feedback. If tasks are differentiated, this does not present a collusion challenge.
  4. Teacher gives feedback in the grid, on the front page of the work (or in an accessible place):
  1. Check the student’s self-assessment against descriptors
  2. Check the assignment, making comments only on actionable next steps - not an overwhelming number, as this can increase the perceived “gap” for students. Students who want and will take action on very detailed marking can request this in follow-up.
  3. Summarize feedback in the grid: task-level, process level and self-regulation level.
  4. Link to support resources where appropriate
  5. Record grades out of sight of student.
  1. Teacher places value on interaction with feedback by giving class time to digest & reflect
  1. Give “whole class” feedback on common issues and note needs for later workshops
  2. Students read their feedback: table and comments.
  3. Students synthesise this into a “feed-forwards” note to self. Showing this to the teacher and a shared agreement on the next steps releases the grade, not before.
  1. Next time the task type is attempted, the first thing students do is open the feedback and set achievable, specific goals to “level up” based on the feedback & feed forwards.


Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007) The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research. Vol. 77 no 1 (pp 81-112). (includes diagram above)

Wiggins, G. (2012) Seven Keys to Effective Feedback. Educational Leadership Magazine. Vol. 70 no. 1. (pp 10-16). (and related: EL Takeaways Poster )

   Stephen Taylor @sjtylr