The TEDM Principle: Improving Written Feedback

Willie McGuire, Olan Harrington, Carole MacDiarmid, Sally Zacharias


Recent discourse on assessment literacy is supportive of dialogic practices, without
addressing the concomitant challenges of workload, high student numbers and
sustainability. This paper presents the findings of a small-scale qualitative study
exploring teacher and student views on the effectiveness of written feedback using a
‘showing; not telling’ approach, which used a descriptive pattern of feedback as
opposed to an instructional model within a peer-tutor review framework. Paramount
was the use of modelling, a method of ‘showing’ students how to improve their work
at the formative stage as opposed to ‘telling’ them how to improve it after
assignment completion. This modelling was practised using the TEDM principle: tell,
explain, describe and model. Key findings are that the model is: effective with high
numbers; positively received by students; and sustainable.

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