Practicioner Best Practices: Providing Effective Feedback

The key to being a successful Graider for this type of work is accuracy and consistency. Students, teachers, and school leaders are depending on reliable scores. In order to achieve this, we recommend that you:


  • Invest time upfront. Before you begin grading, it's critically important that you carefully read all supporting documents. Once you deeply understand the rubric, scoring guide, exemplars, etc., you will be able to grade more efficiently and effectively. This will save you time and help avoid revision requests for inconsistent or inaccurate work!
  • Reference the rubric. Refer back to the rubric often to keep grading accurate and consistent and feedback aligned with learning goals.
  • Norm. Before you start grading, read at least three pieces of student work in order to get a baseline understanding of student abilities. Whenever you're scoring a larger group of students, we recommend that you read at least 5-6 student work samples before you begin grading. Unlike grading a single class, multiple classes, interim assessments and large-scale tests tend to have greater variation. Again, this upfront investment of time will give you a better understanding of student performance levels and help you grade more accurately.
  • Review. The first few assignments you grade are the toughest. As you progress, you will get a feel for the students and better understand the assignment and rubric. It is often useful to go back and review these first few assignments after you have finished to check for consistency.


  • Prioritize. Diagnose the most-pressing problems with the student’s work and focus your effort on those issues, 2-3 max. Ask yourself: what will make the biggest impact for that student?
  • “Fix the writer, not the writing”. Think like a coach or tutor, not an editor. Re-writing the paper for the student is not a good use of your time or likely to meaningfully affect the student.
  • Don’t overly focus on grammar and mechanics. In a typical rubric, conventions comprise only a small part of what the teacher is looking for. If the conventions prevent you from reading the essay, you can say something like "please go back and review your conventions and spelling" and leave it at that.
  • Simplify the tasks for the student. Be specific and concise so students don’t get overwhelmed, discouraged, or lost in the weeds. Provide examples or explanations of concepts for students. Most importantly, make sure you feedback is clear and actionable so students know what to do for revisions or future assignments.


  • Add a personal touch. One of the things that makes being a Graider special is the fact that you are pre-service teacher who cares deeply about the students behind the papers. Instead of quoting the rubric verbatim, personalize your comments in conjunction with using language from the rubric.
  • Have high expectations. Feedback should challenge students! Push and engage them in the learning process.
  • DO NOT praise for obvious things. It is important to balance areas for growth with positive feedback, but avoid empty praise and fluff words (i.e. “great job”, “awesome”). Words like “wonderful” and “good” don’t tell students what they should continue incorporating in their writing.  For example, “You have a great introduction” isn’t constructive feedback. Instead say, “Thesis is well focused and hook attention getting.”
  • Frame feedback in the positive. Instead of saying, “You didn’t give enough examples to support your thesis,” you can instead say, “Next time, provide more examples to support your thesis."


  • Be professional. It is imperative to use formal language and be sure to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. You are the expert; therefore, informal language and conventional errors undermine your authority and diminish student acceptance of the feedback. Plus, misspelled words drive teachers crazy!
  • Time management! Keep track of your time per student and total grading time. Use a stopwatch on your phone or computer to keep you focused and on time. 
  • Ask questions! Your fellow Graiders can help you with norming and calibration, interpreting the rubric, and evaluating student work. They are a great resource to make sure you're on track. The Graide Network team is also here to help! Text us at 646-200-5768 or email at