This post is adapted from the Next Generation Learning Challenges’ Friday Focus from February 3, 2017.
In this week’s Friday Focus, we discuss ways to help students and adults alike develop and strengthen their peer-to-peer feedback chops, an important and necessary skill for all learners.
Theories about Feedback
“Helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable; user-friendly (specific and personalized); timely; ongoing; and consistent,” writes Grant Wiggins in Seven Keys to Effective Feedback. Giving and receiving quality feedback requires that we listen carefully, observe, and reflect, and then synthesize and frame our thoughts and critiques in a way the recipient can hear and be able to use. In our NGLC grantee schools where feedback is an essential component to the learning experience, we see an emphasis on building strong relationships in which learners trust each other and know that feedback is being given in their best interest. We also see a focus on having a growth mindset, in which the person receiving the feedback understands it’s a necessary part to learning.
Sometimes, in schools, feedback can be provided by a critical friend, “someone who is encouraging and supportive, but who also provides honest and often candid feedback that may be uncomfortable or difficult to hear,” as defined by The Glossary of Education Reform.
An Evidence Base for Feedback
When trained in protocols, practiced, and emphasized, peer feedback at the student-peer level and the educator or colleague-peer level, within and outside of school settings, has been shown to have an impact on performance, community, culture, learning, and more. Explore the research below to learn more about feedback’s impact and how feedback is being implemented in the learning process:
- Peer versus expert feedback: An investigation of the quality of peer feedback among secondary school students. In this study, researchers explore the quality of peer feedback; whether students adapt their work based on feedback; and whether feedback was scientifically accurate (it was)! Despite the study’s small sample size, it’s useful when studying the research base supporting feedback’s role in learning.
- Fostering critical thinking and reflection through blog-mediated peer feedback. There are many modes and models for providing peer feedback. This study explored how digital tools, specifically blogs, affected the frequency, depth, and quality of critical feedback on students’ writing.