Give Motivating Assignment Feedback

Grading and giving feedback is often cited as the least enjoyable part of teaching. The feedback you give on assignments can motivate students to move forward or give students an excuse to give up completely. It is not something to be taken lightly as your comments can impact a student's willingness to try. This is why it is so vital that feedback is given in a manner that encourages and motivates. The next time it is time for you to grade assignments consider these 4 questions:

  • What did the student do well?
  • What tools can I provide to further develop this area of strength?
  • What aspects of the student’s work needs improvement?
  • What tools can I provide for developing the area in need of improvement?

This process can make giving feedback time consuming. However, the extra time you invest is well worth it. Providing feedback that answers these 4 questions has a more positive impact and is more motivating.

Students like to receive detailed feedback about what they have done right. Providing tools to help students further develop in areas of strength will help students feel encouraged. When we grade and provide feedback we often forget about the good stuff. This can be demotivating. Consider answering this question and providing some positive information to motivate students.

When we grade we have to point out the areas in need of improvement. This is the point of grading all together. In addition to marking what is wrong, we need to provide tools for improving those areas. Consider the last assignment you graded. Was it full of red marks or discouraging comments? Would providing tools or tips with those marks or comments have improved the student’s knowledge base and providing them ways to do better next time? Yes! Tools and resources can help the students feel that improvement is possible. It is your job as their teacher to provide a few.

Grading and giving feedback is a necessary part of being a teacher. Use these tips and ask yourself these questions when grading to help ensure that the comments you give is constructive, encouraging, and motivating.

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