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Providing feedback

August 04, 2005

Hello again. I've been writing about academic management recently and I wanted to focus today on giving students feedback. Feedback is crucial for helping students to know where they are in the learning process and where they need to go in the future. Sponsors may also need to receive clear feedback to help measure the effectiveness of the training they send people to do.

Logically of course, you can't provide meanignful feedback unless you know the student's starting level. This means initial, pre-course level testing is important. I would say that once this is done the student needs to be involved in the process of determining targets. You can use the entry test to discuss the key areas that the student wants to work on.

Next it is essential to keep accurate progress records that can form the basis of the final report. At the end of the course, discuss with the students how they feel about the attainment of their goals and what they want to concentrate on in the future. Provide feedback based on this holistic approach: starting level, targets set, targets achieved, areas for future work and how the student perceived progress through the course. Try to cast the feedback in a form that reflects the student's use of English in real life. If the student is aiming for higher education, focus on the language needed for study skills. If the student is using English in a professional capacity concentrate on the specific skills needed for the job.

My main messsage here is that feedbakc must be highly personalized to be useful. Providng good feedback will be enormously helpful to your students and will enhance your school's reputation.

Back soon,

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  1. keith kirwen Says:

    Hello Patricia,

    I continue to read your emails. I have lots of thoughts, but simply can't (don't) find the time to respond. I hope you continue doing this. Thank you.


    keith Kirwen
    The English Planet

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