Reflecting on Feedback



Funny how things kind of pile on to hit you in the face!  @druinok and I are revisiting Wiliam & Leahy’s Embedding Formative Assessment;  The current issue of ASCD Express is filled with articles focused on feedback and our first day back with faculty this semester- we had a PLC about Formative Assessment & Feedback.  Though this post was more about success criteria – there are several comments concerning feedback.

Chapter 5 in EFA2 was a bit frustrating.  Initially it felt like it was saying so much of the research on feedback was not useful…for several reasons.  But as I read and later watched this presentation (while sansone walking for my cardio!) – there were some big ideas that stuck out to me…well, hit me in the face.

How when done incorrectly, feedback can have a negative influence on learners.  Some things were obvious, but others were definitely worth noting.

How we should not be expected to give thorough feedback on every single thing.  He suggested the 25% idea.  25% of the work is self-assessed, 25% of the work is peer assessed, 25% of the work is skimmed by teacher, 25% of the work received thorough feedback.  Hmmm.  This feels doable.  I have felt so overwhelmed at times in recent years.  And I also wondered if by giving too much written feedback, does it become common and expected, therefore losing some of its ability to drive student achievement forward?

The article we read during our first day back AND Wiliam in this book both said without any follow-up action, formative assessment is essentially useless.  The article said – “it is not fair to students to present them with feedback and never give them the opportunity to use it.”  In his book, he said, IF its important enough for students to use the feedback, then you must find the time to allow them to do it in class.  Ouch.  But when?  We can’t possibly get everything in!!!

This is the pie in my face.  As I was planning the FALs for my classes, I realized – that giving students feedback on their pre-assessments…being intentional with the wording, expecting them to do something with it…either answer a question, extend a pattern, redo a part of the problem, look at a specific piece of their work, sketch a new picture…

Oh my goodness.  That’s it!  When we pass back the pre-assessments… usually a few common things happen…

  1.  The student is given a few minutes to revisit their work and read the feedback, then attempt to use the feedback and make their response better..  then
  2.   The student is paired or in a small group and they all use their feedback to create a group response to the task.  OR
  3.   After the lesson, students are given an opportunity to revisit the initial task and/or a similar but different task.  I usually copy these front/back – this allows me to flip over and see their initial work, feedback and see if they were able to clarify misconceptions and correct mistakes.

How might I use this idea to implement into my other tasks/lessons?  The time to “ACT ON the FEEDBACK” was embedded into the lesson.  Lightbulb!


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