A great article in the Atlantic that refers to what so many of us know about learning and improving. The author refers to what Malcolm Gladwell stated in his book Outliers. Gladwell writes about how one needs 10,000 hours of practice that includes a means to improve performance. That is immediate feedback. In the Atlantic article Composition 1.01: How Email Can Change the Way Professors Teach, it is suggested that if teachers reviewed writing 'in progress', students would get the immediate feedback needed to improve and continue writing. He compares it to coaching during practice as opposed to after the game.
Interestingly enough, I am reading Grant Wiggins' book, Assessing Student Performance, where Wiggins points out that " Successful learning depends upon adjustment in response to feedback; no task worth mastering can be done right on the first try. Effective adjustment depends upon accurate self assessment; good self-assessment depends upon the assessor supplying excellent feedback."
Technology offers us a means to cut down the stacks of paper and give immediate feedback to our students. Feedback should always be considered with any form of assignments or assessments. It is puzzling how students take finals and state assessments and never see their papers. Student's work is an opportunity to learn.
Check out this article by James Somers in the Atlantic