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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds John Hattie, Helen Timperley, and others argue that the effectiveness of feedback is also dependent on the level at which the feedback operates. They identified four different levels teachers can focus their feedback on and claimed that feedback has differing effects across these levels.

Skip to 0 minutes and 26 seconds The four levels they identified are: 1.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 seconds The level of task performance: this is to do with how well a student does in performing a task; 2. The level of process of understanding

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds how to do a task: this relates to the main processes needed to understand or perform the task, 3. The self-regulatory or metacognitive process level i.e. how well a student understands the learning process, including what they will do to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning and actions; before, during and after tackling activities, 4. The self or personal level (unrelated to the specifics of the task) i.e. an evaluation about the individual. As teachers we can increase the potential of feedback helping students if we focus our discussions at the more effective levels.

Levels of feedback

In the video Andrea discusses that teachers can focus feedback interactions on different levels, and these levels can in turn have differing impacts on students, with some enhancing learning more than others.

The levels highlighted are:

  • Task Performance Level - related to how well the task is being performed, such as whether the work is correct or incorrect, feedback may include directions to acquire more, different, or correct information;
  • Task Process Level - related to understanding the main processes needed to complete tasks, feedback is more directly aimed at the strategies needed to perform the task, including looking to see if alternative strategies can be used;
  • Self-regulation Level - related to the student using self-generated thoughts, feelings, and actions that are planned and cyclically adapted to the attainment of personal goals, feedback can be focused at developing greater skill in self-evaluation or confidence to engage further on a task;
  • Self Level - usually positive evaluations (praise) and affect about the learner.

The self-level could be argued is not actually feedback, as it does not meet the criteria we explored in the first week as it is more of an evaluation/judgement of the learner.

To exemplify these different levels, if I was learning to perform a new activity like crocheting a tiger …

Crochet tiger

Feedback at the different levels could be:

  • Comments about the quality of the tiger I produced - the task performance level;
  • Comments about the technical processes I used to make the tiger e.g. the needle I used etc – the task process level;
  • Comments about what I know about the process of crocheting and how I used this to: help me plan for making the tiger; monitor how well I thought I was doing during the making of the tiger; evaluate which approaches I thought worked particularly well, or note errors to avoid next time I make a different animal – the self-regulatory level;
  • Comments about me as the ‘crocheter’ – the self level.


  • Which level do you think researchers claim has the least impact on learning?
  • Which level do you think researcher have found is the most common?

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This video is from the free online course:

Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre