Further Reflections on Feedback – putting ideas into action!

22 February 2018

Author: Karen Roskilly - Sandringham Research School Lead

The first day of our Effective Feedback to Maximise Progress training course was serious food for thought!  Feedback is a particular area of interest of mine and at the start of the day, we were treated to a keynote from Harry Fletcher-Wood from the Institute for Teaching.

His presentation was full of insight, but one thing in particular resonated with me: checklists!

Ticked offHarry has written a whole book on checklists, Ticked Off, and took his inspiration from Atul Gawande’s ‘The Checklist Manifesto’.  Gawande highlights the importance of checklists to pilots and identifies that they are a critical tool for getting things right under pressure.  In this context, however, they were being advocated as a key tool to enable students to self-regulate and self-assess their work before handing it in for marking.  This is potentially beneficial on a number of levels: it enables students to take responsibility for their work and encourages their active participation and reflection, but it also should save a great deal of time when marking as you do not need to focus on basic expectations.

Checklists form an integral part of the decision tree Harry shared with us during his keynote, which you can see below.


I have long been a proponent of students’ proof reading and highlighting particular aspects of their writing before handing it into me to be marked.  For example, my students are often asked to highlight the parts of their PEEL paragraphs in different colours, to identify where they have made direct links to the question or where they think they have evaluated.  This has been incredibly useful to me in many ways, and certainly helps to reduce the time my marking takes, but I have never used a formalised checklist as part of this process, but I can certainly see the potential benefits it may bring.

So, I have had a go at producing a checklist for my students to complete before handing in 10 mark exam questions in Sociology.  I have tried to encourage them to reflect on what they did both before and during writing, as well as considering the final piece of writing they are handing in for written feedback.  A copy of the checklist can be found here.  I haven’t tried it out yet, but will be using it next week and it will be interesting to discuss with the students what they think about the process and what tweaks it might need!

Further reading:

Harry blogs about the use of checklists on his website here: https://improvingteaching.co.uk/2016/10/30/checklists-for-students-efficiency-autonomy-and-excellence-in-the-classroom/

Harry also blogs about the decision tree on his website here: https://improvingteaching.co.uk/2017/10/22/the-evidence-on-feedback-a-decision-tree/

Fletcher-Wood, H. (2018). Responsive Teaching: Cognitive science and formative assessment in practice. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

Posted on 22 February 2018
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