How to Give Feedback on Assessments

elearning-wordpressThere is so much time today spent on formulating effective assessment questions that it can be easy to overlook best practice when it comes to feedback techniques.

What do I mean by “feedback”?

In this case, I am referring to the message that is displayed to a user after they submit their response to a question. Many instructional designers will intentionally omit question-by-question feedback (which is fine), but there are some advantages that can be achieved by including it.

That said, if you do have feedback after a question, it should provide value – it should not just be “CORRECT!” and “INCORRECT!”.

Assessment Feedback Tips

First, you may want to consider giving the learner another chance to get the question right. It helps them to understand what is wrong and gives them another opportunity to succeed.

Try using “That’s incorrect, try again!” instead of “That’s incorrect, the correct answer is…”

Another possibility is to give feedback that they are almost correct, but that they should try to select the most appropriate answer. You can encourage the learner in the response by using something similar to the following:

You are almost there, please try again!

In the event that the learner selects the wrong answer, you can also give them a hint. This will help to guide their thought process so that they aren’t just guessing until they get the correct answer. In the response, you include the hint as follows:

That’s incorrect. Hint: Think about how…  Try again!

When the learner finally does get the answer correct, don’t miss out on an opportunity to further reinforce the concept. Instead of saying, “Correct!”, supplement the correct response with additional context. For example, “That is correct! This example shows the…”. 

While this helps to provide additional context, avoid having something that is too lengthy.



Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

7 Responses

  1. I think it important to differentiate between learning or “knowledge check” questions and “qualifying/certifying” assessment questions. We provide customer feedback during the learning phase, but during the “do you really know this” assessment for certification purposes, we don’t give them hints, but do indicate if correct or incorrect. We also do allow retakes.

  2. Where LearnThings is falling short for me is that there seems to be no way I can give feedback to students that have uploaded assignments. It would be great to be able to send the assignment back with comments from within the LMS.

    1. Hi Gerald-

      Thanks for the note. If you are referring to LearnDash, then this feature will be available shortly. If not the next major update, the one after.

  3. Hello Justin. I am considering buying LearnDash. The assignment feature you refer to is of interest to me. In roughly what time frame do you think it will be available? Weeks or months?

    1. Hi Norman-
      Thanks for the comment. We are enhancing the assignment feature at this moment and it should be out in our next major update (perhaps the next one depending on testing).

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