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Feedback Strategies
September 2020


What does the research say about recent self, peer, and teacher feedback strategies that help students make progress in learning?

Ask A REL Response

Thank you for your request to our Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Reference Desk. Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 RELs that, by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. Ask A REL provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations in response to questions about available education research.

Following an established REL Northwest research protocol, we conducted a search for evidence- based research. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, Google Scholar, and general Internet search engines. For more details, please see the methods section at the end of this document.

The research team has not evaluated the quality of the references and resources provided in this response; we offer them only for your reference. The search included the most commonly used research databases and search engines to produce the references presented here. References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. The research references are not necessarily comprehensive and other relevant research references may exist. In addition to evidence-based, peer-reviewed research references, we have also included other resources that you may find useful. We provide only publicly available resources, unless there is a lack of such resources or an article is considered seminal in the topic area.


Brooks, C., Carroll, A., Gillies, R. M., & Hattie, J. (2019). A matrix of feedback for learning. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 44(4),14–32.

From the Abstract:
"The present study used an established model of feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007) as a framework to explore which types and levels of feedback are most common in the upper primary classroom. Results demonstrate that feedback was predominantly directed toward the task level and that feed forward, information about the next steps for learning, was the least occurring feedback type in the classroom. Based upon research and findings, the authors propose a conceptual matrix of feedback that bridges research to practice with the aim of feedback being a driver to promote improvement."

Brooks, C., Huang, Y., Hattie, J., Carroll, A., & Burton, R. (2019). What is my next step? School students' perceptions of feedback. Frontiers in Education 4(96), 1–14. Retrieved from

From the Abstract:
"Feedback literature is dominated by claims of large effect sizes, yet there are remarkable levels of variability relating to the effects of feedback. The same feedback can be effective for one student but not another, and in one situation but not another. There is a need to better understand how students are receiving feedback and currently there is relatively little research on school students' perceptions of feedback. In contrast, current social constructivist and self-regulatory models of feedback see the learner as an active agent in receiving, interpreting, and applying feedback information. This paper aims to investigate school student perceptions of feedback through designing a student feedback perception questionnaire (SFPQ) based upon a conceptual model of feedback. The questionnaire was used to collect data about the helpfulness to learning of different feedback types and levels. Results demonstrate that the questionnaire partially affirms the conceptual model of feedback. Items pertaining to feed forward (improvement based feedback) were reported by students as most helpful to learning. Implications for teaching and learning are discussed, in regard to how students receive feedback."

Double, K. S., McGrane, J. A., & Hopfenbeck, T. N. (2020). The impact of peer assessment on academic performance: A meta-analysis of control group studies. Educational Psychology Review 32, 481–509.

From the Abstract:
"Peer assessment has been the subject of considerable research interest over the last three decades, with numerous educational researchers advocating for the integration of peer assessment into schools and instructional practice. Research synthesis in this area has, however, largely relied on narrative reviews to evaluate the efficacy of peer assessment. Here, we present a meta-analysis (54 studies, k = 141) of experimental and quasi-experimental studies that evaluated the effect of peer assessment on academic performance in primary, secondary, or tertiary students across subjects and domains. An overall small to medium effect of peer assessment on academic performance was found (g = 0.31, p 0.001). The results suggest that peer assessment improves academic performance compared with no assessment (g = 0.31, p = 0.004) and teacher assessment (g = 0.28, p = 0.007), but was not significantly different in its effect from self-assessment (g = 0.23, p = 0.209). Additionally, meta-regressions examined the moderating effects of several feedback and educational characteristics (e.g., online vs offline, frequency, education level). Results suggested that the effectiveness of peer assessment was remarkably robust across a wide range of contexts. These findings provide support for peer assessment as a formative practice and suggest several implications for the implementation of peer assessment into the classroom."

Philippakos, Z. A. (2017). Giving feedback: Preparing students for peer review and self‐evaluation. The Reading Teacher, 71(1), 13–22. Retrieved from

From the Abstract:
"Revision is an important aspect of the writing process but is often challenging for students. Peer review can be helpful, but training is needed for it to work effectively. This article suggests an approach to preparing students for peer review by teaching specific evaluation criteria and leading collaborative practice in reviewing papers written by unknown peers. This practice supports self-evaluation as well as peer review and increases students knowledge of effective writing and the quality of their own writing. Specific examples are presented to demonstrate the effects of this approach."

Reinholz, D. L. (2018). Three approaches to focusing peer feedback. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 12(2), 10.

From the Abstract:
"Peer assessment has great potential to improve student learning. However, assessment is not an everyday activity for students, and thus providing appropriate guidance to students is a key component of creating a successful peer assessment experience. This paper explores how to structure peer feedback in the guided process Peer-Assisted Reflection (PAR), by comparing the artifacts and practices associated with three different iterations of PAR in undergraduate calculus. The iterations are referred to as the Questions, Critique, and Balanced approaches. Through a detailed analysis of this design-based research project, new insights are generated about how particular artifacts shape the feedback provided by students. In particular, students in the Balanced approach provided more succinct feedback across a greater variety of categories. In contrast, the Questions and Critique approaches had longer, narrative feedback, and it was focused on few categories."

Rodgers, C. (2018). Descriptive feedback: student voice in K-5 classrooms. The Australian Educational Researcher, 45(1), 87–102. Retrieved from

From the Abstract:
"In this article, the author argues the imperative of critical dialogue between learners and teachers on learners' experiences in the classroom. This dialogical process is called ‘‘descriptive feedback''—feedback given by students to teachers on their (students') experiences as learners. Drawing on the literature on feedback, descriptive feedback, and student voice, the author contends that descriptive feedback dialogues are not only rich sources of understanding of learning, teaching, and school, but offer a creative counter to a relentless, often dehumanizing, atmosphere of test prep and ‘‘coverage.'' The results of this study point to the creation of space where students become teachers, teachers become learners, learners become learners of teaching, and both collaborate on creating curriculum. Within this space students develop a heightened sense of their own agency, and acquire new language with which to talk about learning. Teachers develop a curiosity about students' point of view and come to trust in their capacity to contribute to both curricular content and pedagogical process."

Steele, J., & Holbeck, R. (2018). Five elements that impact quality feedback in the online asynchronous classroom. Journal of Educators Online, 15(3), 1–5.

From the Abstract:
"Online learning is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. This growth requires strategies to make online teaching as efficient and effective as possible in order to provide students with a quality education. One of the important factors that help support student learning is timely, quality feedback on assignments and in discussion forums. This paper offers some ideas for online instructors to give feedback more effectively and efficiently and discusses elements of feedback that can help make this an effective and efficient area of the online classroom."

Additional Ask A REL Response to Consult

Ask A REL Reference Desk. (2019, October). Effective teacher to student feedback. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Science, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest. Retrieved from


Keywords and Search Strings: The following keywords, subject headings, and search strings were used to search reference databases and other sources:"Student feedback", "Self-feedback", "Teacher feedback", "Peer feedback", "Learning", "Feedback strategies", "Formative feedback"

Databases and Resources: We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and EBSCO databases (Academic Search Premier, Education Research Complete, and Professional Development Collection).

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

Date of publications: This search and review included references and resources published in the last 10 years.

Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority was given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, as well as academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, and Google Scholar.

Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references:

  • Study types: randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, and policy briefs, generally in this order
  • Target population and samples: representativeness of the target population, sample size, and whether participants volunteered or were randomly selected
  • Study duration
  • Limitations and generalizability of the findings and conclusions

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by stakeholders in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest. It was prepared under Contract ED-IES-17-C-0009 by REL Northwest, administered by Education Northwest. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.