“Well done” “You have worked hard on this” ….

How often when marking do we praise students for the effort that they have made?

Praise of task performance is often less effective because it contains little learning-related information and is rarely converted into more student engagement and commitment to the learning goals or increased understanding. Such comments have too little value to result in a learning gain.

Effective feedback answers 3 questions

  1. Where am I going? (goals)                          Feed Up
  2. How am I going?                                             Feed Back
  3. Where to next?                                               Feed Forward

Each of these questions works at 4 levels

Product – the most common type of feedback offered in classrooms and is focussed on the task or outcome which students are working towards. Accounts for 90% of all questions teacher ask in a lesson

E.g. Yes / No queries. “You needed to ….”

Process – this level of feedback is about getting students to unpick the processes they’ve used to create a product or complete a task.

e.g.  “Why did that not work ..”; “What would you do differently next time”

Regulation – this is about students’ ability to monitor and regulate themselves.

e.g. “Check whether you have ….” “How well do you think you did”

Self – this is feedback directed at the actual student. Often it’s about praise

e.g. “Well Done” “Pleasing Effort” Praise carries little information that provides answers to any of the 3 questions.

When feedback draws attention to the self, students try to avoid the risks involved in tackling challenging tasks, to minimise effort and have a high fear of failure to minimise the risk to the self.


Use comments NOT grades or marks

Provide comments on work that are learning goals. These goals need to be

  • appropriate
  • challenging
  • specific
  • include criteria for success in achieving a goal

If giving praise encourage self-regulation; engagement or processes relating to the task or performance

e.g. Well done you have diligently completed this task by applying this concept”


  • ‘The Power of Feedback’ John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007) Review of Educational Research Vol 77 No1 pp 81-112
  • Feedback it is better to receive than receive. http://learningspy.co.uk