Effective Feedback

Since many of the active learning techniques that support INtopFORM student learning outcomes related to inquiry, critical thinking and information literacy require more participation from students, they also call for more effective feedback from instructors. As Grant Wiggins points out, feedback is related to but distinct from grades. Grades may reflect whether a student met the goals of an assignment but not why they fell short or how they could improve.
A brief review of the literature on effective feedback reveals some common themes. Feedback is most effective when it is:

Specific: Tailor your comments to the particular areas in need of improvement.
Actionable: Set specific criteria for improvement, offer models and examples.
Considerate: Students may take criticism negatively and personally; maintain a positive tone and always direct your comments to the work, not the person.
Timely: The sooner the better. Address your concerns with the work while it is still fresh in mind.

Providing such feedback may take a little more time, but it is proven to improve learning and retention. Using rubrics can help you pinpoint where improvement is needed and suggest solutions to common problems to help save you time.
Source: Grant Wiggins
Wiggins, G. (2012). Seven keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70 (1), 10-16. Retrieved from:  http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept12/vol70/num01/Seven-Keys-to-Effective-Feedback.aspx
Photo by Steve Wilson