Four Important Features That Make Teacher Feedback So Powerful

The importance of teacher feedback 

Teacher feedback is one of the most important aspects of formative assessment. It helps learners get the most of the assessment. A considerable number of researchers have shown that teacher feedback has the power to affect students’ learning and achievement in a positive way (Black & William, 1998; Yorke, 2003; Black, 2010).

In my first years of teaching, I was struggling with how to convey meaningful and constructive feedback to learners who demonstrate real learning problems. I used to share with students simple verbal instances that describe their work in general. Yet, I noticed that nothing has changed as much as I was expecting.

To solve this problem, I have done a few things. I did some readings, I asked veteran teachers, and I attended sharing and professional development sessions. After some time, I was able to understand how to adapt my teaching and students’ learning using my feedback. Teacher feedback must be characterized by the following features:

Teacher feedback must be specific

Grades and points are not feedback that students can benefit from. Specific feedback provides information about particular responses or behaviors beyond their accuracy and tends to be more directive and facilitative” (Shute, 2008, p. 157).

Feedback should describe what was right and wrong. Most importantly, it should specify how to improve in terms that are short and clear.

Feedback must be timely

The timing of feedback is the most important part of giving feedback. If students are going to receive late feedback about something they learned a month ago, it would be useless and a waste of time. Immediate feedback can be defined as right after learners have reacted to a certain item or a problem.

The same thing for a quiz or a summative test, students should be fed back right after they pass one of them. The significance of immediate feedback lies in the fact that it can quickly remedy the situation and problems

Feedback must be clear and understandable

It is important that teachers make sure that feedback is clear and understandable from the part of students. Irons (2008) stated that “in the provision of feedback, one needs to consider the clarity of feedback, especially how to indicate the ways in which students can improve and develop for the future” (p. 65). Feedback must address these three questions: 1- where am I going? 2- How am I going? 3- Where to next?

Feedback must allow an opportunity for dialogue

A few teachers would say that they open a constructive dialogue right after they give feedback. Typically, a teacher would share feedback with students and moves forward. Yet, researchers such as Irons (2008) pointed out that teacher feedback should allow opportunities for students to explain their thinking and their work.

For feedback to be effective, it should result in an engaging environment where learners talk over their misconceptions, ideas, trepidations, and acceptance to teachers’ and peers’ opinions.  

By and large, for teacher feedback to be formative, it must be specific, clear, understandable, timely and results in a constructive dialogue that promotes deep understanding. It is this kind of information that helps learners modify and adapt their learnings.



I hope you really enjoyed reading this post. What else can you say about teacher feedback? Please, share your ideas in the comments to help others know more.


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  1. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998a). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 7-74.
  2. Irons, A. (2008). Enhancing formative assessment and feedback. London: Routledge.
  3. Shute, J. V. (2008). Focus on formative feedback. American Educational Research Association, 78(1), 153-189.
  4. Yorke, M. (2003). Formative assessment in higher education: Towards Theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice. Higher Education, 45 (4), 477-501.





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