From my experience teaching, I prefer frame feedback around three pillars: the student experience, the opportunities for growth, and the expectations of the assignment. I will often start student feedback by asking the student about their experience of the task. This guides my understanding of what was important for the student, what was challenging for the student, and what accomplishments the student made based on their experience. This first step promotes metacognition and self-analysis in the student and frames the next set of feedback. Regardless of student achievement, I always focus on opportunities for improvement.
I believe that it is part of the teacher’s responsibility to know how a student can improve and to guide students in that new learning. For example, when I taught theatre, I developed a teaching rubric that guides students in five skills of acting (voice, speech, physicality, objectives, and analysis) with corresponding grade level placement. Each skill in the rubric has a clear sequence so that regardless of the individual skill in the student there is a clear path forward. I used that same rubric in my instruction, prior to the feedback, so that the feedback and academic language associated with the skills being practiced are familiar to the students. By incorporating the rubric early in the instruction, the feedback becomes about the content and the continual development of the student.