As a general concept, feedback stems formally from the field of control engineering (Wiener 1961). In the context of learning, it can be traced back to 1898 with Edward L. Thorndike, whose Law of Effect first established a relationship between learning and the consequence of one’s actions (Hounsell 1987). In this entry, feedback is discussed in the context of learning in the classroom environment.

Feedback has been clearly identified as an important part of a learning experience and integral to formative assessment and assessment for learning. Hattie’s (1999) review of thousands of studies placed feedback as one of the most influential factors affecting student learning. Feedback serves not only students (e.g. How am I doing? How can I improve my performance? Black and Wiliam 1998; Hattie and Timperley 2007; Sadler 1989, 1998; Shute 2008), but also teachers (e.g. What is it that students understand; what is it that they do not? Why? Hattie 2009).

The discussion of feedback is organised in three areas: (1) understanding feedback; (2) a practical perspective to implement feedback; and (3) the research evidence supporting this practice.