giving and receiving feedback

Delivering and Receiving
Information about performance or behaviour
that leads to action to affirm or develop that
performance or behaviour
Purpose of feedback
• Enables the receiver to recognise what
they do well so they can continue doing it
• Enables the receiver to understand where
he/she needs to develop and change
Does feedback work?
Black and William 1998 – meta analysis of
>250 studies of formative assessment
with feedback since 1988 from all
educational sectors
Feedback resulted in positive benefits on learning
and achievement across all areas, knowledge and
skill types and levels of education
Conditions for successful feedback
For students to benefit from feedback, the
student must
1. possess a concept of the goal/standard or
reference level being aimed for
2. compare the actual (or current) level of
performance with that goal or standard
3. engage in appropriate action which leads to
some closure of the gap
Sadler 1989
Conditions for successful feedback
Often point 2 is the focus of feedback and falls
short on point 3
7 principles of good feedback practice
1. facilitates the development of self-assessment
(reflection) in learning
2. encourages teacher and peer dialogue around
3. helps clarify what good performance is (goals,
criteria, expected standards)
4. provides opportunities to close the gap between
current and desired performance
7 principles of good feedback practice
5. delivers high quality information to students
about their learning
6. encourages positive motivational beliefs and
7. provides information to teachers that can be
used to help shape the teaching
Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick 2004
Tips – Before giving feedback
always ask yourself:
• What is my intention behind giving this person
• How am I feeling about giving it?
• How is the other person feeling; if they have
had a stressful day, might be best left for
another occasion. It is important they are in the
right frame of mind to accept it
Tips –Feedback rules
Tips –Feedback rules
• timely: given as close to the event as
possible (taking account of the person’s
readiness etc)
• selective: addressing one or two key
issues rather than too many at once
• balanced: good and the bad
• suggestions: not prescriptions
Tips –Feedback rules
descriptive, non-judgemental, based on
behaviour not personality
"I notice that you don’t look at people when they are
talking to you. You said you couldn’t understand
why people don’t listen to you. Do you think this
might have something to do with it?
"I think you’re selfish in that you don’t listen to anyone
Tips –Feedback rules
specific or focussed, in order to focus
developmental feedback
avoid personal comments/avoid mixed
messages/avoid diffusion
Tips –Examples
“you fool! Cant you remember that I needed these accounts for the
meeting yesterday?’
“Shirley, I need the accounts for 2pm on Friday for the management
meeting later in the afternoon.”
“I would like you to take more care of your appearance in orders to make
a better impression on patients”
“You always look like you have just got out of bed but your work is good
on the whole”
‘Some of you are not achieving your performance goals. You have to
‘Richard, you have not achieved your performance goals this week. Can
we talk about it & work out some plans to improve?’
Tips –Feedback rules
directed towards behaviour that can be
‘I really don’t like your face/your height/the fact that
you are bald etc’
‘It would help me if you smiled more or looked at me
when you speak’
The Impact of Feedback
The person receiving the feedback can react with:
• anger – ‘I’ve had enough of this’
• denial – this reaction often accompanies the initial
shock of feedback ‘I can’t see any problem with
• blame – ‘It’s not my fault. What can you expect
when the patient won’t listen?
• rationalisation – finding excuses to try and justify
their behaviour ‘I’ve had a particularly bad week’
‘Doesn’t everyone do this?’
• acceptance
• renewed action
Feedback formats
written/verbal individualised eg a particular
written/verbal general feedback to a group eg on
most common errors/successes on an exam paper
checklists/proforma eg headings of assessment
criteria, with comments below
Feedback formats
assessment criteria grid, showing where student is
placed against each criteria
model answers
computerised eg multiple-choice questions
"Off the cuff" comments from others eg "You're
really good at”
Record verbal feedback
Ensure it is written down
IRCP comments
Student takes notes for PDP
Receiving feedback
listen carefully to what is being said
people should be receptive to feedback and see it
as helpful.
don’t reject it!
accept positive feedback…don’t reject it!
accept negative feedback...don’t reject it!
avoid arguing or being defensive.
Receiving feedback
ask questions to clarify fully and seek examples is
acknowledge the giver of feedback and show his
or her appreciation. The feedback may not have
been easy to give.
involve mutual good will
receiver should feel that the giver isn’t their
giver needs to want to help receiver develop
Receiving feedback
it is up to the receiver what they do with feedback
read or listen
understand; clarification: examples and
alternatives; keep notes
try to keep feedback sheets/information together
give it time to sink in and get into perspective and
address areas for improvement
try not to
feel devastated by small criticisms and
try not to be defensive and make
Black, P. & William, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom
learning. Assessment in Education. 5(1),7-74.
Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2004) Rethinking
Formative Assessment in HE: a theoretical model and
seven principles of good feedback practice.
Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment5 and the
design of instructional systems. Instructional Science.
18, 119-144.
Many thanks to Dr Ramesh Mehay at
Bradford VTS for much of the material
contained in this presentation