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Four Kinds of Feedback- how they are linked to success criteria and learning Intentions?

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

One of the dilemmas that teachers face is to find time to give feedback to their learners and ensure that the feedback is well received, interpreted and acted upon. Since feedback is the most crucial part of learning, I am writing this blog to share my understanding of 4 kinds of feedback and systems that facilitate seeking and receiving feedback in our classrooms.

Feedback- how might we use different kinds of feedback in our classrooms?

Aren't systems such as peer feedback and student self-assessment enough? Do teachers need to give feedback in every lesson they teach? How do I find time to provide feedback to every student? Inquiry teachers do not correct students' mistakes! If they do, wouldn't that kill the curiosity and motivation to learn on students' behalf?

These are a few questions that I have wondered and heard in discussions. Let us find some answers.

Feedback is an integral part of the elementary teaching and learning experience and, therefore, involves a clear understanding of what it means and how it works. My school is currently engaged in a whole school project to enhance the learner assessment capability and embed visible learning practice.

VISIBLE THINKING = LISC + FEEDBACK. (Where LI stands for Learning Intentions and SC stands for Success criteria).

LISC and feedback do seem like two different unrelated processes. However, you cannot separate one from the other. They all are part of one iceberg! Without the four kinds of feedback, students cannot effectively access learning intentions/ success criteria and move from surface learning to deep learning/ transfer stages.

I have created this diagram to show learning intentions, success criteria and 4 kinds of feedback are connected and part of visible learning. Without 4 kinds of feedback, the successful implementation of LISC is impossible!

Figure 1.2: Iceberg model of Visible Thinking - LISC explained

Figure 1.2: Iceberg model of Visible Thinking - Feedback explained

Learning intentions:

The learning intentions are the skills and knowledge taught in a lesson or a series of lessons. It should basically answer the question:

What do I want my students to learn? What knowledge, dispositions and skills need to be taught and practised? How do I check what my students already know and do?

Sharing learning intention with your students is essential, as the feedback has to be linked to learning intentions. Students need to know what they are learning to move beyond surface learning.

More information learning intention is available on my blog post : Collective Teacher Efficacy works, Really!

Success criteria:

Success criteria are the breakdown of learning intention and provides a benchmark for the quality of learning. (Clarke, Hattie- 2019). Success criteria can be both open and closed. When students co-construct the success criteria, they are more likely to internalise it and use it effectively for self and peer assessment. Any kind of feedback should be hinged upon the success criteria and learning intentions.

Kindly check my post on: What makes the Success Criteria successful to learn more about success criteria.

Four kinds of feedback- How are they linked to LISC?

During our training, we were told about four kinds of feedback. Most of us assumed this was new information, and we required training to understand this complex concept. Trust me, it is not new and, even more, not complex at all!

Let me explain these four kinds of feedback to you with some examples.


Praise is a kind of feedback that does not move the learning forward. Feedback has to be specific, should mention what is going well and what needs to be improved. Telling a child, you are clever or intelligent does not help them. Moreover, praise can be demotivating! It can lead to comparison with other students and less resilience with faced with set backs. Comments such as "well done or you really tried hard" show praise for the efforts. Such comments send a message to students that they cannot do any better and their teacher does not have high expectations of them. I believe we should praise the effort that improved the outcome. Students need to see for themselves how their skill and effort both helped them.

"I am proud of the way you did not give up today and stuck at the your learning!"

You have included all the criteria in the success criteria. Well done for checking your work and editing it to make it better.

I believe there is a place and time for praise. It is needed to build relationships and trust. Some students who lack self-esteem and confidence, may need praise as it may help boost their confidence. However, praise should be used sparingly and it needs to be sincere, specific, private and must not include comparison with others.

Task related feedback

As teachers, we consistently gives this kind of feedback, especially when a new concept is introduced. Usually, students are at the surface knowledge phase when this kind of feedback is given. Teachers consistently check on students' understanding, so their students do not get the concept wrong or work with misconceptions. This feedback is corrective, specific and focused on accuracy. We communicate right, wrong, yes, no, don't do it this way, or this needs to be done like this.

  1. Procedural steps: Picture this, when we introduce a new concept, such as multiplication, we focus on students' understanding. We check their strategies or working out. If some students need help understanding how to use arrays or partitioning strategies, we work in groups and explain the strategy in small procedural steps. This corrective action is task-related feedback.

  2. Key features: Recently when my students were writing a recount of their holiday, I noticed that student X was using the present tense in his recount. I underlined the verbs on a whiteboard and showed him the past tense verbs. I explained why he must use the past tense when writing a recount. This specific and corrective feedback on key features of a recount is task related too!

  3. Example-non example: showing students non examples of a concept is also a task related feedback. For example when my students were learning about ecosystem, I showed them a picture of an aquarium. We compared and contrasted the features of an ecosystem and features of the aquarium to understand how aquarium is a not a kind of ecosystem. This example-non example is also task related feedback.

  4. Context: During a rich task, some of my Year 4 students were incorrectly using the brackets in an equation, which impacted the working out accuracy. I showed them a short math antics video on BODMAS, and students went back to correct their use of brackets. This task-related feedback gave students the context they needed to understand the order of operations.

  5. Telling students if their answers are incorrect is also task-related feedback focused on accuracy.

When I began my career as a PYP teacher, I was told teachers mustn't correct their students' mistakes; instead, teachers let students think for themselves and identify their mistakes. My question to that philosophy is: how would students think for themselves if teachers do not set them up for success? It is the teacher's job to correct students' misconceptions and provide them with feedback that helps them to make connections and help surface-level learning to transfer, apply and extend their knowledge.

Process Feedback

This kind of feedback is given by the teacher concerning the strategies or success criteria used by students to complete a task or create a product. This kind of feedback helps students move to the deep learning phase and help them see the connection between the ideas. This kind of feedback is focused on both accuracy and student thinking. This kind of feedback differs from yes or no or right or wrong. It should make students think and extend further, make connections, reflect on their strategies and choices, and self-monitoring or self-questioning. When students compare their learning with the success criteria and understand what was done well and how they can improve further, it helps to boost learners' self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. They become more resourceful, and the thrill of engaging in the tasks improves. According to Hattie, Fisher and Frey - As teachers, we are tasked with providing learning opportunities and interventions that will foster intrinsic motivation so that learners engage in the experiences and tasks in such a way that they experience growth and achievement.

  1. I recently used 3 point rubric co-constructed by the students as success criteria for writing recounts. Students assessed their writing and had to highlight the columns that best described their work. The "How might you move your writing to the 3-star column, or what might you improve further" question helped all my students to extend their thinking, which in the absence of the question, would have been happy with their recounts.

  2. Whilst problem-solving for multiplication, students were required to choose at least 2 strategies they were comfortable with. As I walked around noticing and looking through students' learning, I saw some used only 1 strategy. I asked them how they would know this answer was correct. This prompted them to further engage with the task and use another strategy.

  3. During the same task, I asked a reflection question at the end - 'which strategy worked well and why? Were you able to use all 5 strategies to solve the problems? Why/why not?' This feedback helped my students connect the ideas, and they realised some strategies worked better than others. They could pinpoint reasons why some strategies worked well and were able to explain the reasons.

  4. A quick Padlet reflection after students finished learning about materials and structures concepts.

So some of the following questions will help support you in providing process feedback in your classes:

  • What appears to be wrong and why?

  • What strategy did you apply in today's math task and why?

  • Was working with your buddy helpful in today's lesson? Why/why not?

  • Compare these ideas; how are they the same and different?

  • What is ........? Explain in one sentence using the following words.

Self-regulation Feedback

Self-regulation is used by a student when they approach a problem, and they know what needs to be done when they are stuck. At this level, students take control, self-assess and are willing to invest the extra effort required to seek, interpret and receive feedback.

Recently, one of my students (student X) displayed self-regulation when he realised he needed to follow the success criteria while doing his research. He cried aloud," Oh no, Mrs G, I have not answered the questions in my research. My research is incorrect and won't help me write my non-fiction book.

When I asked him," Why do you think so?"

My student showed me his research and explained what the problem was. When I asked him what he would do and if he needed my help. He answered, " no, I know what to do now. Thanks to the success criteria, I can check my progress." He showed me his next steps, asked questions, and continued with his work.

This example showed that student X reached a deep level of understanding and could fix the problem. He practised self-verbalisation, self-questioning and self-reflection. He took ownership of his learning and was more intrinsically motivated to complete his learning with skill, thrill and will.

This is the highest level of feedback and develops assessment-capable learners who can answer the following:

Where are we going?

How will they get there?

Where to next?

I hope this blog helps you with your understanding of 4 kinds of feedback and sees its relevance in connection with LISC and setting up feedback systems in your classrooms.


Almarode, J., Fisher, D., Thunder, K., & Frey, N. (2021). The success criteria playbook. Corwin. Hattie, J., & Clarke, S. (2021). Visible Learning Feedback. Routledge.

Hattie, J., Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2021). Great teaching by design. Corwin.



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