Photograph of maths homework - 2/365

How useful is your written feedback?

by FGTO on September 11, 2011

Do you ever feel you’re just wasting time marking books?

Are you wondering how to monitor written feedback in your department?

Try this 10 minute book scrutiny

Book scrutinies can become quite an unmanageable task if you don’t have some system for focusing your thoughts.

The following method could be used to give you a quick and manageable overview of your written feedback.

It isn’t the only way to evaluate written feedback, but it’s a start
Generally, feedback will fall into one of the following categories.

  • Positive Non-specific
  • Negative Non-specific
  • Positive Specific
  • Negative Specific

These are usually represented as a quadrant








However, I have also included two more categories

  • Positive Developmental
  • Negative Developmental

Students will usually respond better to positive feedback (don’t we all?) but sometimes negative feedback has to be given.

Either way, it’s important to be clear and specific with the feedback we give.

Take a quick look through the students’ work and complete a quick tally-chart of the categories into which the comments fall.

The results can sometimes be quite surprising – and can form the basis for some in depth work on improving the quality (and impact) of written feedback.

Download this article and the recording template.


Photo – 2/365 by Jin.Thai



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