Focus on Formative Feedback

Mar. 20, 2008

Source: Review of Educational Research, 2008 78:  153-189.

This article reviews the corpus of research on feedback, with a focus on formative feedback—defined as information communicated to the learner that is intended to modify his or her thinking or behavior to improve learning. According to researchers, formative feedback should be nonevaluative, supportive, timely, and specific.

Formative feedback is usually presented as information to a learner in response to some action on the learner’s part. It comes in a variety of types (e.g., verification of response accuracy, explanation of the correct answer, hints, worked examples) and can be administered at various times during the learning process (e.g., immediately following an answer, after some time has elapsed).

Finally, several variables have been shown to interact with formative feedback’s success at promoting learning (e.g., individual characteristics of the learner and aspects of the task). All of these issues are discussed. This review concludes with guidelines for generating formative feedback.

Updated: Apr. 07, 2008