Getting Students to Engage With Feedback

By Jennifer Davis Bowman

At the core, feedback is an assessment with recommendations to strengthen an assignment or project. Ideally, such recommendations should be provided along the way, prior to assignment submission. But feedback is not merely a series of recommendations, but a reflection of teacher planning and student engagement. For teachers, what does feedback planning look like? For students, what does engagement with feedback involve? Plan for feedback in a way that encourages student engagement.

Teacher discussing work with a student


Take the time to directly show students how feedback impacts performance. Professor Norman Eng writes about the idea of showing versus telling to address student misconceptions. For the purpose of demystifying the feedback concept, it is helpful to explicitly show students. I discuss the link between the use of feedback and the score earned. For instance, my class examines two hypothetical examples of student scores from a previous course; we compare one with incorporated feedback and one without the use of feedback. Students are able to see how incorporating feedback can improve their score.