Making Feedback Meaningful


The 15 Minute Forum tonight was led by maths teacher Shane Borrett (@BorrettShane).  Shane talked us through how he has been working at ‘closing the feedback loop’ with a couple of simple strategies.


As a starting point all students are given a ‘level ladder’ (like the one above) for each new topic, which is then stuck in their exercise book.  This shows students where they are are and what they need to do in order to progress to their target level – in that particular topic. A similar document is also available for GCSE.


At the end of each topic students are given a self assessment sheet, like the one above – again to stick in their book.  They use the level ladder and feedback that they have received during lessons to complete it.  A completed example follows:


This encourages the student to think about their own learning against the assessment criteria and provides them with with clear improvement targets, that are personalised for them.  As can be seen by this example, the self assesed level has been moderated and adjusted by the teacher – an important part of the process which in itself, will generate some good discussion.

These targets then inform the planning of the next lesson, to ensure that any learning gaps are addressed.


When marking a homework task, the teacher writes an improvement code e.g. T1, T2 etc. against the work.  The codes and what they mean are then projected onto the screen at the start of the next lesson (see above).  The student then has to find the code they were awarded and write out the appropriate improvement target – this makes them take notice of what the improvement target is and means that the teacher doesn’t have to write out the same comment endless times.


Simply writing down an improvement target will not enable the student to address the gap in their learning.  So another slide is then put up that has questions aimed at addressing each specific improvement target.  So if, their improvement target was T3 ‘Practise factoring into single brackets’, they then have to answer question T3 – to address their own learning gap.  The teacher can then move around and see how individual students are getting on and give extra support where needed.

If a larger number of students had the same code as a target e.g. T5, this question could be worked through as a class.  There are also some ‘HINTS’ in red to encourage students to use other resources e.g. text books – so encouraging students to work independently, as opposed to immediately seeking help from the teacher.

Whilst this kind of approach is quite work intensive to set up initially, once the resources have been reduced, it certainly reduces workload – and gives meaningful feedbck to students.

It is a great example of putting into practice the ‘closing the gap’ marking model outlined below.

close the gap marking

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4 Responses to Making Feedback Meaningful

  1. Reblogged this on paddington teaching and learning and commented:
    Fantastic post on practical AfL and self assessment in Maths.

  2. Sue marooney says:

    Dear Shane
    This is excellent practice and insiring for other colleagues. Thank you and well done

  3. Sue marooney says:

    Apologies, should say inspiring!

  4. Pingback: Fast Feedback | Belmont Teach

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