Provide Effective Feedback

Giving effective feedback that is constructive and useful is key

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The role of feedback for learners is critical in advancing language proficiency. Feedback should be provided in multiple forms including formative, summative and self-assessment. It should be specific, timely, spoken or written, and most importantly, relevant to learning goals and the targeted level of proficiency. The educator’s role is to determine a learner’s current level of proficiency, plan the next steps, and offer formative feedback and strategies to further language acquisition. The key is to give learners what they need in a timely fashion to improve and not to overwhelm them with too much feedback.

  • Formative feedback is designed to assess learners’ progress toward learning targets during the learning process.
  • Summative feedback provides an assessment of student performance at the end of a learning cycle (unit, semester, program).
  • Reflective feedback invites learners to play an active role in self-evaluation of their performance. This self-assessment provides learners the opportunity to make the changes necessary to improve their language performance.


Giving appropriate feedback promotes student ownership and builds confidence as learners can identify those areas of strength and those areas of needed improvement. Learners can use formative feedback and instructor-provided strategies to make changes that impact their language performance. Without prompt feedback, learners are disconnected from the task and not motivated to improve. Learner self-assessment and reflection require learners to focus on their own learning, comparing their current performance with their past performance in order to reach their proficiency level targets. (To learn more about these targets see NCSSFL-ACTFL Can Do Statements, ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners.)


Teachers should utilize feedback strategies throughout instruction to assess and inform learners of progress towards proficiency goals. Feedback can be oral or written and can be given in a variety of ways:

Types of Feedback

Technology can be used to support feedback. There are myriad options that could include:

  • Google Drive to create a portfolio
  • Survey and questionnaire forms to assess progress toward learning targets, comprehension of interpretive mode, self-check as students prepare presentational mode
  • Video- or audio-recording of a task to self-evaluate
  • Blogging or shared forum (i.e., Google chat) for peer or co-constructed discussion
  • Immediate feedback via technology (online practice that offers automatic feedback)
  • LinguaFolio®

Learn More About Guiding Principles

Language learning should be a central part of any curriculum. Here's why:

Opening Statement
Opening Statement

ACTFL is committed to providing vision, leadership, and support for quality teaching and learning to prepare the next generation of global citizens.

Benefits of Language Learning

We believe that all students should learn or maintain at least one world language in addition to English. Therefore, language learning should be a central part of any curriculum.

Literacy in Language Learning

Contemporary definitions of literacy include more than basic reading, writing, listening, and speaking, adding the purposeful uses of these skills in today’s media- and information-rich environment.

Articulating Sequences
Articulated Sequences in Language Learning

In order for learners to achieve the highest level of proficiency possible, sequential study over extended periods of time is necessary.

Backwards Design
Plan with Backward Design

Backward design is one of the core practices for effective language instruction that relies on thinking purposefully about teaching and learning.

Use of Target Language
Facilitate Target Language Use

The use of target language refers to all that learners say, read, hear, write, and view – production and reception of language on the part of learners, educators, and materials.

Authentic Texts
Use Authentic Text

Interactive reading and listening comprehension tasks should be designed and carried out using authentic cultural texts of various kinds with appropriate scaffolding and follow-up tasks that promote interpretation.

Communicative Tasks
Design Communicative Tasks

Oral interpersonal communication tasks engage students for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas, meeting one’s needs, and expressing and supporting opinions through speaking and listening or signing with others.

Grammar as Concepts
Teach Grammar as a Concept in Context

Grammar should be addressed within meaningful communicative contexts as one element of language proficiency.


El Tatawy, M. (2002). Corrective Feedback in Second Language Acquisition. Retrieved from

Glisan, E.W. (2016). Core Practices for Effective Language Learning [Webinars]. Retrieved from

Popham, W. J. (2008). Transformative Assessment. Retrieved from,-What,-and-Whether.aspx