Documentation:Assessment/Formative Feedback

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Formative Assessment

“Encompassing all those activities undertaken by teachers, and/or by their students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged” (Black & Wiliams,1998)

Benefits to Feedback

Sadler (1989) identified three conditions necessary for students to benefit from feedback in academic tasks. He argued that the student must know:

  • what good performance is (i.e. the student must possess a concept of the goal orstandard being aimed for);
  • how current performance relates to good performance (for this, the student must be able to compare current and good performance)
  • how to act to close the gap

Seven principles of good feedback practice (Nicol and Dick, 2006, p. 205 ) that support student self-assessment. Feedback practice:

1. helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected sandards);

2. facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning;

3. delivers high quality information to students about their learning;

4. encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning;

5. encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem;

6. provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance;

7. provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape teaching.


Black, P. and D. Wiliam (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1): 7-68.

Nicol, D. J., & Macfarlane‐Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.

Sadler, D. R. (1989). "Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems." Instructional Science, 18: 119-144.