Constructive feedback is feedback that helps students learn and grow.
Even though it highlights students’ weaknesses, it is not negative feedback because it has a purpose. It is designed to help them identify areas for improvement.
It serves both as an example of positive reinforcement and a reminder that there is always room for further improvement. Studies show that students generally like feedback that points them in the right direction and helps them to improve. It can also increase motivation for students.
Why Give Constructive Feedback?
It can also help people to see that their efforts are paying off and that they can continue to grow and improve with continued effort.
Additionally, constructive feedback helps people to feel supported and motivated to keep working hard. It shows that we believe in their ability to grow and succeed and that we are willing to help them along the way.
How to Give Constructive Feedback
Generally, when giving feedback, it’s best to:
- Make your feedback specific to the student’s work
- Point out areas where the student showed effort and where they did well
- Offer clear examples of how to improve
- Be positive about the student’s prospects if they put in the hard work to improve
- Encourage the student to ask questions if they don’t understand your feedback
Furthermore, it is best to follow up with students to see if they have managed to implement the feedback provided.
General Constructive Feedback Examples for Students
The below examples are general templates that need to be edited so they are specific to the student’s work.
1. You are on the right track. By starting to study for the exam earlier, you may be able to retain more knowledge on exam day.
2. I have seen your improvement over time. As a next step, it is a good idea to…
3. You have improved a lot and should start to look towards taking on harder tasks for the future to achieve more self-development.
4. You have potential and should work on your weaknesses to achieve better outcomes. One area for improvement is…
5. Keep up the good work! You will see better results in the future if you make the effort to attend our study groups more regularly.
6. You are doing well, but there is always room for improvement. Try these tips to get better results: …
7. You have made some good progress, but it would be good to see you focusing harder on the assignment question so you don’t misinterpret it next time.
8. Your efforts are commendable, but you could still do better if you provide more specific examples in your explanations.
9. You have done well so far, but don’t become complacent – there is always room for improvement! I have noticed several errors in your notes, including…
10. It is great that you are trying your best, but don’t stop here – keep pushing yourself to get even better results. It would be good to see you editing your work to remove the small errors creeping into your work…
11. You have put in a lot of hard work, and it is starting to show. One area for improvement is your tone of voice, which sometimes comes across too soft. Don’t be afraid to project your voice next time.
12. You are making good progress, but don’t forget to focus on your weaknesses too. One weakness to focus on is…
13. Your efforts are commendable, but it would have been good to have seen you focus throughout as your performance waned towards the end of the session.
15. While your work is good, I feel you are becoming complacent – keep looking for ways to improve. For example, it would be good to see you concentrating harder on providing critique of the ideas explored in the class.
16. It is great that you are trying your best, but don’t stop here – keep pushing yourself to get even better results! Try to improve your handwriting by slowing down and focusing on every single letter.
17. You have put in a lot of hard work, and it is starting to show. Keep up the good work and you will see your grades slowly grow more and more. I’d like to see you improving your vocabulary for future pieces.
18. You are making good progress, but don’t forget to focus on your weaknesses too. One weakness to focus on is…
19. You have potential and should work on your using more appropriate sources to achieve better outcomes. As a next step, it is a good idea to…
Constructive Feedback for an Essay
1. Your writing style is good but you need to use more academic references in your paragraphs.
2. While you have reached the required word count, it would be good to focus on making sure every paragraph addresses the essay question.
3. You have a good structure for your essay, but you could improve your grammar and spelling.
4. You have made some good points, but you could develop them further by using more examples.
5. Your essay is well-written, but it would be helpful to provide more analysis of the topic.
6. You have answered the question well, but you could improve your writing style by being more concise.
7. Excellent job! You have covered all the key points and your writing is clear and concise.
8. There are a few errors in your essay, but overall it is well-written and easy to understand.
9. There are some mistakes in terms of grammar and spelling, but you have some good ideas worth expanding on.
10. Your essay is well-written, but it needs more development in terms of academic research and evidence.
11. You have done a great job with what you wrote, but you missed a key part of the essay question.
12. The examples you used were interesting, but you could have elaborated more on their relevance to the essay.
13. There are a few errors in terms of grammar and spelling, but your essay is overall well-constructed.
14. Your essay is easy to understand and covers all the key points, but you could use more evaluative language to strengthen your argument.
15. You have provided a good thesis statement, but the examples seem overly theoretical. Are there some practical examples that you could provide?
Constructive Feedback for Student Reports
1. You have worked very hard this semester. Next semester, work on being more consistent with your homework.
2. You have improved a lot this semester, but you need to focus on not procrastinating.
3. You are doing well in most subjects, but you could improve your grades by paying more attention in class and completing all your homework.
4. You are doing well in most subjects, but you could still improve your grades by studying more and asking for help when you don’t understand something.
5. You have shown great improvement this semester, keep up the good work! However, you might want to focus on improving your test scores by practicing more.
6. You have made some good progress this semester, but you need to continue working hard if you want to get good grades next year when the standards will rise again.
7. Next semester, focus on completing all your homework on time and paying more attention in class.
8. You have worked hard this semester, but you could still improve your grades by taking your time rather than racing through the work.
9. Next semester, focus on completing all your homework in advance so you have time to check it over before submission.
10. While you usually understand the instructions, don’t forget to ask for help when you don’t understand something rather than guessing.
11. You have shown great improvement this semester, but you need to focus some more on being self-motivated rather than relying on me to keep you on task.
Constructive feedback on Homework
1. While most of your homework is great, you missed a few points in your rush to complete it. Next time, slow down and make sure your work is thorough.
2. You put a lot of effort into your homework, and it shows. However, make sure to proofread your work for grammar and spelling mistakes.
3. You did a great job on this assignment, but try to be more concise in your writing for future assignments.
4. This homework is well-done, but you could have benefited from more time spent on research.
5. You have a good understanding of the material, but try to use more examples in your future assignments.
6. You completed the assignment on time and with great accuracy. I noticed you didn’t do the extension tasks. I’d like to see you challenging yourself in the future.
Giving and receiving feedback is an important part of any learning process. All feedback needs to not only grade work, but give advice on next steps so students can learn to be lifelong learners. By providing constructive feedback, we can help our students to iteratively improve over time. It can be challenging to provide useful feedback, but by following the simple guidelines and examples outlined in this article, I hope you can provide comments that are helpful and meaningful.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]