Day 11: Enhancing Written Feedback

Welcome to day 11 of our SoTL adventure! In this blog post, and accompanying sway, William McGuire discusses feedback literacy.

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Enhancing Written Feedback Toolkit

by William McGuire (@willieapps) from the School of Education


  • To stimulate critical reflection on what constitutes useful written feedback;
  • To present some principles of effective feedback from the literature and from our own research;
  • To identify problematic feedback and consider ways to transform it;
  • To support both students and staff to improve their feedback practices in the receptive and productive modes respectively.


The materials used in this resource pack were sourced from a funded research project into improving feedback on a postgraduate course titled: Professional Enquiry and Decision Making (PEDM), which is part of the MEd (Professional Practice) degree for which students have to design a hypothetical research project leading to a 6,000-word assignment in which they present their projects, including an overview of relevant literature, a description of research methodology and a literature review on the research methods chosen.

How Written Feedback is Given on the PEDM Course

Students are required to submit a 1,500-word excerpt from their 6,000-word assignment. The student then receives formative feedback from both peers and tutors. They can provide this excerpt from any part(s) of the assignment. The feedback falls into three categories using the formula Tell, Explain, Demonstrate, Model (TEDM).

  1. Positive trends: identify a maximum of three.
  2. Modelling good practice: (Illustrate a maximum of THREE points to help the student improve the grade).
  3. Issues requiring attention: identify a maximum of three.

Researching Feedback Literacy and Developing the Toolkit

  • In the autumn/winter of 2019-21, a funded research project was carried out to evaluate past feedback given to PEDM students;
  • Three research pairings were created to carry out the study formed of one academic and one former student;
  • Each pairing re-read 30 feedback sheets used in the previous session and then wrote a report on their observations;
  • These findings were cross-referenced against the extant literature in the field written by the team;
  • The toolkit was then constructed based on these reflections and a peer-reviewed article into effective feedback practices.

Song of the Day

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