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Finding and Fixing Student Mistakes

Students need feedback that helps them improve, and that includes identifying their errors. Without corrective feedback, efforts to improve limp along. But do students need what we typically dish out? I was a bit disconcerted by findings in a recent cross-disciplinary survey. The researchers (Knight et al., 2021) asked faculty to identify the purposes and value of the feedback they provided on students’ written work. “Nearly half of the instructors valued the use of written feedback on written assignments as fostering future improvements. However . . . when analyzing responses across disciplines, identifying specific errors seemed to be more important than making comments in the margins” (p. 121).

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