5 Types of Writing Feedback | Lindsay Ann Learning Educational Blog

5 Types of Writing Feedback

Today, we’re going to get right down to business and discuss five forms of formative writing feedback and when to use them during class to save time. If you haven’t already checked out my post on characteristics of effective feedback from my grading hacks series, be sure to check it out first so that we’re on the same page, cool?

Let's Recap:  Effective Feedback is...

I often hear teachers complain about how much “grading” they have to do, but really grading should be the quickest step in the assessment process if you have front-loaded plenty of opportunities in class for students to receive varied writing feedback from you and their peers.

Research shows that effective feedback can improve student writing skills by leaps and bounds. The fact is, though, that teacher feedback often falls short due to it being not timely, not useful, or too critical. 

Adding to this, it’s super important for teachers and students to be on the same page when it comes to writing feedback, meaning that they need a “common language” for discussing writing. 

Developing a Language for writing feedback

  • check
    Model, model, model.  Talk through your own thinking about your own writing and student writing.  Run a model conference with 1-2 willing students in front of the class.
  • check
    Unpack the rubric and write the rubric in student-friendly language. Help students to understand their learning targets clearly so that they know what they are being asked to do and what that looks like and/or sounds like.
  • check
    Have students give each other (and you!) feedback on your writing.
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    Make writing and feedback a fluid loop – don’t separate the two.  This creates an ongoing “conversation” about writing and puts value on process vs. product.

What doesn’t work for writing feedback? Checklists. Yuck. Personally, I hate ‘em.  I know that they might work for some folks if the goal is saving time. If the end game is really student learning, though, how many students are going to take the time to cross-reference a bunch of #’s on their paper with generic teacher comments and use that to improve their writing greatly? Take it from a teacher who has tried checklists in a desperate effort to streamline the grading process. While it might save YOU time in the long run, and even if you build in time for student reflection on those comments, I didn’t find (and my students didn’t either) it to be a game changer in terms of their actual learning and writing growth.  Also, checklists create a teacher vs. student, top-down, “grading” mentality vs. a “feedback for learning” mentality which is what I want in my classroom.

Kristin W.

I've tried checklists, but I find the comments are often too generic and not specific to the ideas in specific student papers. I also want the feedback to promote true learning. 

So, what DOES work?  Well, the key, I think, is to get rid of the “one size fits all” writing feedback mentality. Use feedback models and methods that work both for you and the students, and ones that work in the context of the classroom (to save you from a face-off with stacks of papers on your own time).

Writing teachers must practice feedback Tai Chi, finding their flow in order to reduce stress.

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5 Types of Formative Writing Feedback 

Verbal/Live Feedback

Self-Reflective Feedback

Peer Feedback

Group Feedback

Written Feedback

In conclusion, it is important for teachers to find their feedback flow in order to reduce stress, but it’s also important to find efficient ways to provide writing feedback that are varied and responsive to student needs

Find ways to play up your strengths while making sure to provide a lot of opportunities for your students to receive feedback from you and their peers and to reflect on their own writing. Remember, feedback doesn’t have to come solely from you, and it’s important to turn some of that responsibility back over to the students.  

After all, you don't want to be the one who is working the hardest in the room!  

Brookhart, S. M. (2008). How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students.

Types of Writing Feedback for English Language Arts Teachers
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