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Evidence and Feedback


Feedback is any information that clarifies for students how their knowledge, understanding and skills are developing in relation to the syllabus outcomes and the content being taught. Feedback is an essential component of student learning. It can occur at any point in teaching and learning, and may be provided through both formative and summative assessment experiences. Feedback can enable students to recognise their strengths, areas for development, and how to make decisions with their teacher about the next steps in their learning. Teachers can use feedback to select and adapt strategies to meet students’ needs.

Feedback is most effective when it:

  • is timely, specific, targeted and supports active student learning
  • is accessible to students
  • provides information in ways that are appropriate for the student and context
  • identifies how a student can improve and actions they can take 
  • uses misunderstandings as opportunities for growth
  • supports students to make connections between prior learning and new learning
  • includes regular teacher–student dialogue and peer dialogue where appropriate
  • supports students to take action based on the information provided
  • informs future teaching and learning.

Students may benefit from opportunities to reflect on their learning, self-assess, self-monitor, make judgements about their learning and provide feedback to their peers. 

Types of feedback

The nature of the assessment activity and the context of the learning influences the type of feedback provided to students. Feedback can be formal or informal and may be provided in a range of ways, through both formative and summative experiences, and by teachers and/or peers. 

Teachers may use the following types of feedback to clarify student understanding, provide information about their strengths and how to improve: 

  • verbal or written comments 
  • conversations about drafts and resubmissions
  • collaborations that may include the use of online tools
  • checklists and/or criteria
  • symbols, keys or cues with a shared understanding of their meaning
  • discussion of a range of student work samples and exemplars.

Feedback supports students’ learning when it:

  • clarifies learning in relation to the syllabus, and/or assessment criteria or performance standards
  • is based on a standards-referenced approach rather than comparisons with other students
  • is learning focused and describes next steps
  • recognises improvements made over time
  • offers alternatives and/or asks students to think of alternatives
  • models how to apply a particular skill
  • encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem 
  • provides opportunities for students to apply information in new contexts 
  • facilitates self-reflection and review of learning goals.

Using evidence

Teachers interpret and use information about student progress and achievement throughout teaching and learning. This information can be used as evidence to assist teachers in making judgements about a student’s progress and achievement in relation to the syllabus and performance standards. It can also support teachers to adapt teaching, learning and assessment to meet student needs. Evidence may be gathered from teacher observation, questioning, peer evaluation and self-evaluation, as well as more formal assessment activities.

Teachers can use evidence from both formative and summative assessment to:

  • decide what needs to be taught next, and at what level of detail to support students in their learning
  • evaluate student progress and achievement 
  • inform students, caregivers, parents and other teachers of a student’s progress and achievement, strengths and areas for improvement
  • report to students, caregivers and parents 
  • monitor teaching and learning over time.

Students and teachers may decide together what evidence of learning will be gathered. Students can use this information, and feedback from their teacher and peers, to:

  • reflect on their work
  • make judgements about their learning
  • make decisions with their teacher about the next steps in their learning.

Teachers may gather evidence and record:

  • a student’s strengths and areas for improvement for an activity
  • the performance of a particular student, class, group or cohort of students, across a range of assessment activities and over time, including through teacher observation.

Teachers can work collaboratively to develop a shared understanding of student progress and achievement in relation to the syllabus. 

Working collaboratively can assist teachers to:

  • make consistent judgements about student achievement
  • share ideas and make decisions about how to improve student learning.