Teaching Tip: Student Reflection: Focus on Written Feedback

This past academic year, my students have been using self-reflection of the written feedback I provide on completed assignments. Often students do not know how to use the feedback provided, or they only focus on the grade or rubric/criteria list. I wanted them to focus on what is written “in the margins.” My aim is to help them become self-regulated learners through an activity that focuses their attention on the written feedback and its meaning to them. I have adapted a strategy (Learning and Teaching Board, n.d.; Making a feedback action plan, n.d.) and use it with the most significant assignments in my course:

Students receive the form below, their assignment with written feedback, but I hold back the rubric/criteria list used to guide assessment. I take a few minutes (typically this is 10-15 minutes) at the beginning of class for them to read the feedback and respond to the prompts. Student place the feedback sheet in a folder that I collect. Then I hand back the rubric to them. Toward the end of the term, I have them do an analysis of all the forms in their folder in order to see trends and areas in which they have improved.

Because of this process, there is improvement in the quality of student work and my students have commented on the value of actually reading the feedback, considering what it means to their continued learning, and applying feedback guidance on subsequent assignments.

[The Form] Considering Information about My Learning from Written Feedback

Taking the time to analyze written feedback (or at least be more systematic about gaining information from written feedback) gives you clues to:

  1. Determine how you are doing and where you are in relation to course goals/objectives
  2. Clarify what good performance is
  3. Obtain useful information about your learning
  4. Identify weaknesses in your learning so you can do something about these

One of the things we know from research on student learning is that when a student reflects, he/she improves on subsequent assignments and experiences.

Take a moment to read through your Part 1 of the Topic Strand Project. Use the guiding statements to aid you in learning something about your learning. (You will find a blank copy of the rubric for this assignment at the end of this document.)

This will be added to your file folder creating a collection on how you are developing. This will give you the opportunity to separate your reflections on this instance of feedback from the actual score on the Part 1 rubric so that you can distance yourself from the first thoughts you got when receiving the feedback, and move toward finding the trends that will enable you to continuously adjust your learning approaches.

Reflection on Part One – Overview of your topic strand

Overview of all feedback comments

Most significant feedback comments:



What this means to me:

Note any recurring trend in the feedback that you see

Things I can do to build on the positive feedback in my future work:



Things I can do to address the critical feedback in my future work:



Single most important thing for me to keep doing in my future work on the basis of this feedback:




Single most important thing for me to improve in my future work on the basis of this feedback:






Learning and Teaching Board. (n.d.). Providing Effective Feedback to Students - Briefing Note. Edinburgh, Scotland: Heriot-Watt University.

Making a feedback action plan. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Submitted by:
Rebecca Clemente
Outgoing director, Center Teaching and Learning (transitioning to the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, Jennifer Keys, director)
Department of Education
North Central College
Naperville, Illinois