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Monday, March 11, 2019

The Almond Joy of Providing Feedback to Students | Educational Assessment - Faculty Focus

Kimberly Chappell, assistant professor of Education at Fort Hays State University and the Specialist in Education (EdS) program coordinator argues, Providing detailed feedback is a critical component of effective teaching. 

Photo: Faculty Focus
Feedback serves as a one-to-one conversation with students and can be a powerful tool to teach course content, mentor students, and help them to develop a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006). Decades of research have identified the characteristics of good feedback as expedient, specific, and related to the expectations of the task (Nichols & Macfarlane‐Dick, 2006). Feedback must also provide students with information about how to improve their work, which is focused on future learning (Sadler, 1989).

The analogy of the Oreo cookie has often been used to describe how feedback should be given to students. The analogy asserts that a positive comment about work is given first, then information about where the student went wrong, followed by another positive comment to encourage the student. While this analogy reminds instructors to sandwich negative comments with positive ones, this approach is incomplete and can result in superficial and general feedback. Without specific and substantive feedback, the dialogue that leads to learning is stifled (Nichols & Macfarlane‐Dick, 2006).

A better analogy is the Almond Joy™. There are some key features of this treat that act as a guide for providing effective feedback. The primary feature is the nutritional nature of the candy bar over the cookie, relatively speaking...

Using an Almond Joy approach can provide opportunity to develop students’ growth mindset and maximize learning through assessment tasks. While providing feedback like this may seem daunting, instructors can prepare comment templates, pre-determine the elements to focus the hard comments, and limit comments to avoid overwhelming both students and the instructor. The keys are substantive, positive, and specific comments that are nutritional and forward-focused for the growth of the student.
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Source: Faculty Focus