How to Give Feedback on an Essay & 14 Tools to Make Your Job Easier

May 20, 2024

Providing constructive feedback on academic papers is an essential skill for educators, and mastering it can make a big difference in students' learning and writing skills. Teachers need to find a delicate balance to ensure that their feedback motivates and inspires students to excel and refine their writing. This blog will introduce various tools for teachers to provide effective feedback on students' essays. By following these tips, teachers can improve the quality of students' work and foster a positive and productive learning environment.

What Is Feedback & Its Importance to Students

How To Give Feedback On An Essay

Feedback is any response regarding a student’s performance or behavior. It can be verbal, written, or gestural. Feedback in the assessment and learning process aims to improve a student’s performance—not dampen it. It is essential that the process of providing feedback is a positive, or at least a neutral, learning experience for the student. 

Negative feedback can discourage student effort and achievement. Instructors have the distinct responsibility to nurture a student’s learning and provide feedback so that the student does not leave the classroom feeling defeated.

In the points below, we'll look at why feedback is so important in the education sector: 

Improved Academic Outcomes

Effective and relevant feedback allows learners to reflect on their learning strategies and outcomes, allowing them to make adjustments to make better progress at each stage. This is only possible when you have a valid feedback strategy designed to determine learners’ levels of understanding, which vary depending on the individual and the rate of skill development. Based on the feedback given by each student, you can divide them into groups and set achievable targets or goals to maximize academic outcomes. 

Improved Relations and Collaboration

Students understand that their professors are willing to help them and are genuinely concerned about their education when they receive appropriate feedback. This improves relationships among students and teachers and creates more collaboration opportunities. 

Knowing exactly where the efforts are required ( for example, the need for extra classes, an AI Math Solver, or detailed study material) optimizes the process, both in terms of time and efficiency, which further increases the importance of student feedback.

Improved Process and Faculty Performance

Because we teach and learn through a blank screen, feedback in education is critical, especially in the age of online learning. In many cases, students in an online course do not respond well to what the teacher is teaching. Students should provide constructive feedback to their subject teachers so that they can improve their teaching techniques and students can improve their understanding of it.

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5 Characteristics of Effective Feedback

How To Give Feedback On An Essay

1. Educative in Nature

Feedback needs to be educational in nature. It should not only point out what students are doing incorrectly but also highlight what they are doing right. This type of feedback helps students to improve their work more effectively. 

A useful technique for feedback is the “feedback sandwich,” which consists of a compliment, followed by a correction, and another compliment. This approach makes feedback more positive and constructive. Teachers can incorporate this characteristic by ensuring that feedback includes both positive and negative aspects of the student's work.

2. Given In a Timely Manner

Timely feedback is crucial for student learning. When feedback is delivered promptly after a learning experience, students are more likely to connect the feedback to the material they learned. If feedback is delayed, students may struggle to remember the learning moment. To integrate this characteristic into their feedback process, teachers should aim to provide feedback immediately after students demonstrate their understanding of a topic or complete an assignment.

3. Sensitive to the Individual Needs of the Student

Every student has unique needs, and feedback should be tailored to meet those needs. For instance, some students may require a gentle nudge to encourage them to reach higher standards, while others may need more direct feedback to help them improve. 

Teachers can provide personalized feedback by considering the individual learning styles and preferences of their students. This approach ensures that feedback is constructive and supportive for all learners.

4. Answers the 4 Questions

Quality student feedback should answer four essential questions: What can the student do? What can't the student do? How does the student's work compare with others? How can the student improve? 

By addressing these questions regularly, teachers can help students clearly understand their progress and areas for development. To incorporate this characteristic into feedback, educators should provide detailed responses covering each of these questions.

5. Provide a Model or Example

Feedback should include a model or example to help students understand expectations. Teachers can guide students in improving their performance by providing tangible examples of high-quality work. 

Demonstrating the differences between exemplary and average work can assist students in identifying areas for growth. Teachers can integrate this characteristic by sharing examples of well-executed assignments and highlighting key components contributing to success.

Revolutionizing Essay Grading with EssayGrader

EssayGrader is the most accurate AI grading platform trusted by 30,000+ educators worldwide. On average it takes a teacher 10 minutes to grade a single essay, with EssayGrader that time is cut down to 30 seconds That's a 95% reduction in the time it takes to grade an essay, with the same results. 

With EssayGrader, Teachers can:

  • Replicate their grading rubrics (so AI doesn't have to do the guesswork to set the grading criteria)
  • Setup fully custom rubrics
  • Grade essays by class
  • Bulk upload of essays
  • Use our AI detector to catch essays written by AI
  • Summarize essays with our Essay summarizer 

Primary school, high school, and even college professors grade their students' essays with the help of our AI tool. Over half a million essays were graded by 30,000+ teachers on our platform. Save 95% of your time for grading school work with our tool to get high-quality, specific and accurate writing feedback for essays in seconds. 

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How To Give Feedback On An Essay

How To Give Feedback On An Essay

Formative vs. Summative Feedback

Formative feedback is crucial to helping students revise their work for lower-stakes grades. It includes revision recommendations and questions to help students rethink weaker elements. On the other hand, summative feedback evaluates the quality of a finished product, explaining the connection between strengths, weaknesses, and the final grade.

Higher Order vs. Lower Order Concerns

Higher-order concerns relate to the essay's logic, coherence, and structure. Lower-order concerns include grammar, style, and formatting. It's essential not to address both simultaneously to avoid sending contradictory messages.

Drawing Connections Between the “Big Picture” and the Details

Explicitly connecting the big picture overview notes with specific examples in the text helps students understand the feedback better. Linking marginal comments to the overall strengths and weaknesses of the paper can enhance clarity.


Cultivating a conversational and understanding tone can help students accept feedback positively. Students appreciate when instructors show interest in their work and acknowledge their efforts, fostering a conducive learning environment.

Implementation Strategies

1. End Notes and Marginal Comments

Combining overview notes with specific marginal comments can help students understand their paper's overall strengths and weaknesses. Making the connections between the two explicit is crucial.

2. Rubrics

Rubrics communicate performance expectations clearly and provide a shared language for assessing assignments, saving time and ensuring consistency in feedback.

3. Commenting Forms

Using forms to categorize comments into strengths and areas needing improvement can simplify the feedback process and encourage students to recognize their writing's positives and negatives.

4. Face-to-Face Conversation

Directly talking to students about their papers can efficiently convey feedback and allow immediate clarification of doubts, fostering better communication

5. Screencasting

Providing feedback through screencasts can simulate face-to-face interactions, offering a quicker way to communicate ideas and tone, which is especially beneficial for responding to new media projects.

6. Active Student Involvement

Encouraging students to ask questions and make comments in their drafts helps them take an active role in the feedback process. Responding to their inquiries and addressing their thoughts enhances engagement and understanding.

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Top 5 Game Changing Student Feedback Tools for Teachers

How To Give Feedback On An Essay

1. Using AI for Efficient Feedback

EssayGrader offers a groundbreaking solution that leverages AI to drastically cut down the time it takes for educators to provide feedback on essays. This innovative tool enables educators to replicate their grading rubrics, set up custom rubrics, grade essays by class, bulk upload essays, and even detect essays written by AI. 

With an impressive track record of over half a million essays graded by 30,000+ teachers, EssayGrader ensures high-quality, specific, and accurate writing feedback within seconds. Teachers can save up to 95% of their time spent on grading, making the feedback process more efficient and effective for both educators and students.

2. Enhancing Student Engagement with Conversational Surveys

SurveySparrow introduces a conversational user experience that significantly boosts student engagement and response rates. By facilitating the creation of personalized, dynamic surveys that are accessible across various devices, this tool ensures a higher level of engagement among students. 

Beyond basic surveys, SurveySparrow provides powerful analytics that help educators identify patterns and areas for improvement. Automated surveys, reminders, and diverse question formats empower educators to gain deeper insights into student experiences and needs, making it a valuable tool for managing feedback effectively in educational settings.

3. Real-time Analytics for Data-driven Decisions

Zonka Feedback is a comprehensive student feedback platform that supports various feedback channels and offers real-time analytics. By integrating seamlessly into existing systems and emphasizing tailored feedback approaches, Zonka Feedback enables educational institutions to make data-driven decisions promptly. 

This tool is designed to enhance teaching effectiveness, raise student engagement, and facilitate quick adjustments based on real-time feedback data, ultimately supporting the continuous improvement of the educational process.

4. Actively Engaging Students through Interactive Quizzes

Kahoot is renowned for its engaging games that facilitate active learning through interactive quizzes, discussions, and surveys. Kahoot empowers educators to assess student progress and understanding effectively by promoting real-time engagement and offering valuable analytics. 

This tool embodies a modern teaching practice that creates a fun and inclusive learning environment, fostering student engagement and knowledge retention while enabling educators to provide timely and meaningful feedback to support student learning.

5. Streamlining Formative Assessment with Instant Feedback

Formative is a versatile tool that enables educators to create assignments quickly and allows students to complete them in real-time. By providing instant feedback and supporting various response types, Formative assists teachers in adjusting their teaching strategies promptly based on student progress. 

This tool integrates well with educational standards, making it a powerful ally for formative assessment, enabling educators to offer timely feedback that supports student development and learning outcomes.

What Should You Look for in a Student Feedback Tool?

How To Give Feedback On An Essay

User-Friendliness is Crucial

The first aspect to consider when choosing a student feedback tool is user-friendliness. The easier the tool or the chat-like interface it provides, the greater the impact it will have on response rates and engagements.

Customization is Key

The second key factor to look for in a feedback tool is the ability to customize it to suit your specific needs. This includes tailoring question types, themes, and the overall workflow to align with your educational objectives and preferences.

Anonymity Option

Anonymity is a bonus point when it comes to students sharing vulnerable feedback. Having the option to provide feedback anonymously can encourage students with mental health issues to share their thoughts, allowing educators to address concerns promptly.

Research and Analytical Capabilities

Selecting a feedback tool that offers proper research and analytical capabilities is important. These features make gathering data, performing statistical analysis, and generating reports easier, helping educators make informed decisions and adjust their teaching methods.

Mobile Compatibility

Ensure the feedback tool is mobile-compatible to make it accessible to students who prefer to provide feedback using mobile devices.

Integration with Learning Management Systems

The feedback collected from the tool should integrate seamlessly with your learning management systems to ensure that data is managed efficiently and effectively.

Scalability and Performance

A good feedback tool should be able to handle the needs of different class sizes, from small groups to large lectures, without compromising performance or user experience.

Excellent Customer Support

Look for a tool that offers reliable customer support and technical assistance. A good track record of uptime and helpful customer service can significantly improve your experience with the feedback tool.

Feedback Results Dissemination

Tools that facilitate collecting and disseminating feedback results to students can foster transparency and trust in the feedback process.

Data Protection Compliance

Ensure the feedback tool adheres to relevant data protection regulations and standards to safeguard sensitive student information. This will help maintain the confidentiality and security of the feedback data collected.

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Save Time While Grading Schoolwork — Join 30,000+ Educators Worldwide & Use EssayGrader AI, The Original AI Essay Grader

EssayGrader is a groundbreaking AI grading platform that has transformed the way educators grade essays. With over 30,000 educators worldwide relying on EssayGrader for accurate and efficient grading, this platform is a game-changer in education. 

By automating the grading process, EssayGrader has significantly reduced the time it takes to grade an essay, from an average of 10 minutes to just 30 seconds. This represents a colossal 95% reduction in grading time, while maintaining the same accuracy and reliability level.

Replicating Grading Rubrics for Consistent Results

One of EssayGrader's standout features is its ability to replicate teachers' grading rubrics. By inputting their grading criteria into the platform, educators eliminate the guesswork for the AI system and ensure that essays are graded according to their specific standards. This customization capability allows for consistent and reliable grading across all essays, providing students with clear and actionable feedback on their work.

Setting Up Fully Custom Rubrics for Tailored Feedback

In addition to replicating existing grading rubrics, educators can also create fully custom rubrics on EssayGrader. This flexibility enables teachers to adapt the grading criteria to the specific requirements of each assignment or class, providing tailored feedback that meets the unique needs of their students. Educators can ensure that every essay is assessed accurately and fairly by setting up custom rubrics, promoting student growth and learning.

Efficient Essay Grading by Class for Streamlined Feedback

EssayGrader streamlines the grading process further by allowing educators to grade essays by class. This feature enables teachers to organize and manage their grading workload efficiently, providing timely feedback to students and facilitating ongoing learning and improvement. By grading essays by class, educators can maintain consistency in their feedback and ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed.

Bulk Upload of Essays for Quick and Easy Grading

Another key benefit of EssayGrader is its bulk upload feature, allowing educators to upload multiple essays simultaneously for quick and easy grading. This time-saving functionality enables teachers to grade large batches of essays in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually, freeing up valuable time for other teaching responsibilities. By streamlining the grading process, EssayGrader empowers educators to focus on what matters most – supporting student learning and growth.

Detecting Essays Written by AI for Academic Integrity

EssayGrader goes above and beyond traditional grading platforms by offering an AI detector that can catch essays written by AI. This innovative feature ensures academic integrity by identifying essays that may have been generated by automated systems, protecting the integrity of the grading process and upholding the standards of academic honesty. By detecting AI-generated essays, educators can maintain the credibility of their grading and provide students with fair and unbiased feedback.

Summarizing Essays with the Essay Summarizer for Efficient Feedback

EssayGrader also offers an essay summarizer tool that gives educators a succinct summary of each essay. This feature enables teachers to quickly assess an essay's key points and arguments, facilitating efficient, clear, and concise feedback. By summarizing essays, educators can streamline feedback and provide students with actionable insights to improve their writing skills.

Grading Essays with Confidence Using EssayGrader

With over half a million essays graded by 30,000+ educators on the platform, EssayGrader has established itself as a trusted and reliable tool for grading essays. By leveraging AI technology, educators can save valuable time on grading while still providing high-quality, specific, and accurate feedback to their students. EssayGrader is the ultimate solution for teachers looking to streamline their grading process and focus on what they do best – empowering students to learn and grow. 

Get started for free today and experience the transformative power of EssayGrader for yourself!

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