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Criteria-based feedback and reader-based feedback

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By Kyla James June 19, 2023 - 9:09pm Comments (1)

Rarely am I in the position of editing other students work in academia, most likely because of time and opposing schedules, however the 606 graduate writing class at AU has provided me with this opportunity. 

I read the Elbow Chapters assigned earlier this week and now about to edit two other students’ work. Before I complete this task however, I thought it was best to reflect on which types of feedback I’m most accustomed to using and receiving.  I am used to thinking more analytically and accustomed to receiving criterion-based feedback. Perhaps this is a result of being enrolled in science undergraduate programs, primarily focusing on evidence and concrete facts and little coursework dedicated to writing. I find this type of feedback comes the most naturally, as we’re often reviewing our own work, acting as both writers and editors, which I also seem to do simultaneously as I write.  I then usually review my writing and clean it up, again in editor mode, focusing on spelling and grammar, formatting, and shortening my sentences to be more succinct.  It wasn’t until Elbow’s readings that I learned of the term reader-based feedback. I do find my mind can drift when reading others work, however seldom have I taken the time to pause and reflect on where my mind is going and why.  I also never considered providing this feedback to the writer as I never thought how I feel about the material mattered. Elbows chapter on reader-based feedback helped me recognize that this too is a beneficial form of feedback and that when I catch my mind drifting, to take pause and reflect on why.  Also, to summarize what the reader is writing about and that this could be helpful to the writer. As I go forward this week with reviewing and editing other work, I will make a point to incorporate my reactions and how I feel as a reader as well the criteria-based feedback that I most familiar with. 


Elbow, Peter. Selections from Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process. 2nd ed. Oxford U P, 1998. ProQuest Ebook Central,


  • Hi Kyla, 

    Such interesting insights - the value of reflecting where your mind is going and why when you are reading someone else's work and the benefits of incorporating details of your own work into your feedback on another writer's work.


    Emily Cargan July 19, 2023 - 1:10am

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