The purpose of feedback in the classroom is to enhance the learning experience of students. Feedback should be salient so that students can take actional steps to either improve the quality of their work or to stimulate their understanding of a topic. In the classroom, feedback should be provided periodically- either through informal, in-the-moment discussion or formal evaluations of student work. I believe that informal feedback is a powerful tool that facilitates learning. I think waiting to inform students what they need to improve on until the end of the unit is ineffective pedagogy. An effective means of feedback and assessment is establishing Process-based Learning Intentions or Success Criteria which are brief statements that explicitly describe what students should know, understand and be able to do during a lesson.

Research on formative assessment and feedback performed by Anton Havnes and his team indicates that the “use of feedback from tests and assignments were particularly weak” (Havnes, 23). A student interviewed for the study, who identified feedback from tests as weak said, “we do not really do anything with the feedback, we actually start on the next topic” (Havnes, 25). This research supports my belief that feedback should be provided periodically, versus at the end of a unit after a major assessment. Further, “... a critical aspect of feedback is the information given to students and their teachers about the attainment of learning goals related to the task or performance” (Hattie, 88). In my classroom, I utilize Success Criteria to support students in relation to achieving a goal and information related to the task.

Success Criteria provides students with the tools to self-monitor their progress and answer such questions as "Where am I going? (What are the goals?), How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?), and Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?)” (Hattie, 86). An example of a Success Criteria in my course is “I can use at least four content-specific vocabulary words (in red ink) to explain the mechanism of calcium absorption”. This example specifically illustrates what students need to know (explain the mechanism of calcium absorption) and do (use vocabulary in red ink to explain it) to complete a task. When I walk around the class I assess for observable actions and provide feedback accordingly. If I notice students are struggling to use content-specific language, I ask what the vocabulary words are, and which words are relevant to the task? I prefer feedback in the form of questions because it stimulates inquiry that requires students to find relevant information from their notes. When I come back to check on student progress, I assess whether they used relevant vocabulary to address the learning objective. If they did, I will see it in their work in red ink. Further, the vocabulary should be used in conjunction with their explanation and I will be able to assess for that as well. I can provide overt guidance and scaffolding to help students address feedback. Process-based Success Criteria holds students accountable for their work because expectations are observable. My beliefs on providing feedback and assessment align with what research indicates to be most effective.


Dixson, D. D., & Worrell, F. C. (2016). Formative and summative assessment in the classroom. Theory into practice, 55(2), 153-159.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.

Havnes, A., Smith K., Dysthe, O., & Ludvigsen, K. (2012). Formative assessment and feedback: Making learning visible. Studies in Education Evaluation, 38(1), 21-27.

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      It seems clear that these readings, and especially the topic of formative feedback, resonated with you. You have made some high level connections between the readings and your practice. However, I suggest that you work to make these connections more specific and rigorous.

      For example, you share that:

      In my classroom, I use success criteria for all elements of my lesson (initial activity, turn & talks, mini-lesson, group work, and exit slip). The success criteria are always posted on the board and allows students to see what they need to be able to do. 

      I ask that you revise this blog post, being more specific about what the success criteria are, the means by which you assess them and provide feedback for your students, and the ways in which students use (or don't) this feedback to increase their understanding and learning. I would also like to see tighter connections between the reading and these practices.

      If you need any more support with this revision, just email me.