This change of formative assessment and feedback practice has been promising. However, giving feedback to every single student in a larger class can be time consuming. On top of that, if you teach several classes, giving individual feedback becomes overwhelming and particular daunting during report card writing season. If teachers have to call in sick and spend their day providing feedback to students' assignments at home, that just does not seem to be right. If teachers are stressed and unhappy, they will need to work harder to support their students as they will need to fight their negative feelings. I sense the intensity and stress (crankiness) of teachers and feel there is a need to find solutions for this. Here is the question I am thinking, ""what are some alternatives that allows teachers to provide meaningful and purposeful feedback and yet maintain their sanity?".
Before getting into the sanity-saving feedback strategies, first of all, it is important to distinguish how marking and feedback are different. Marking and feedback are not the same thing, but they are connected (Didau). A teacher can spend lots of time marking, but not necessarily providing students with useful information to move forward. For example, a teacher might only mark the questions right or wrong in a maths task, but did not provide strategy or action steps to help learners bridge the gap. Marking tends to be summative and measures learning. On the other hand, feedback involves providing specific information to help learners improve their knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding relating to their learning goals. It makes sense for students to receive actionable feedback from their formative assessment so that they can use this information to perform their summative assessment with increasing confidence. To ensure the quality of feedback, four prompt questions are used to guide teachers in providing descriptive feedback at KIS. I called it G.R.I.T Feedback.
- Growth: What are the positive attributes of the work in regards to the criteria?
- Risk-taking: How has the student demonstrated risk-taking and approaches to learning skills?
- Improvement: What are the gaps? What requires improvement?
- Tactic: What steps, strategies, and resources can help the student move forward?
The information is detailed in my poster below. I want to emphasize the importance of the Development guiding principle. In order for feedback to be effective and useful, students must have opportunities to interpret, respond and make an action plan to bridge the gap (and also to close the feedback loop).
Some questions to help students to decode feedback and develop actionable steps to regulate performance might include:
- How do I understand the feedback?
- What does this feedback make me feel? Why?
- What do I need to clarify?
- What are my strengths and areas of growth?
- What are my next step(s)?
- What resources and strategies can I use to bridge the gap(s)?
From Transmission to Transformation
For peer feedback to work, I think it's important for students to
- give feedback to their peers based on the receiver's learning goals;
- use the task-specific clarification to provide feedback for the parts that the receiver wish to receive feedback on;
- interpret, respond, clarify, and make an action plan to bridge the gap.
- Didau, David. “Marking And Feedback Are Connected, But They're Not The Same Thing.” Teachwire, Teach Wire, 20 July 2016, www.teachwire.net/news/marking-and-feedback-are-connected-but-theyre-not-the-same-thing.
- Ann , Lindsay. “20 Must-Try Feedback Strategies for English Teachers |.” Lindsay Ann Learning English Teacher Blog, 19 May 2019, lindsayannlearning.com/20-feedback-strategies/.
- “Meaningful, Manageable and Motivating’: Marking and Feedback Policy 2017-18.” Https://Www.thomastallisschool.com/, Apr. 2014, www.thomastallisschool.com/uploads/2/2/8/7/2287089/thomas_tallis_school_feedback_policy_2017-18.pdf.