Assessment for Learning
A blog for busy K-16 educators where we share ideas, strategies, and best assessment practices
that move the learning forward.
Cathy Box, PhD
that move the learning forward.
Cathy Box, PhD
As you read in my earlier post one of the most important components of Assessment for Learning includes strategies teachers and students should use to move the learning forward. Once we have made the learning targets clear and students are aware of what quality work looks like and what their goal is, we must provide activities that afford students an opportunity to learn in a manner that can produce visible evidence of mastery. This is new territory for some, and this particular blog post is not dedicated to classroom instructional strategies (coming soon) but rather what to do once the learning has begun. I cannot overstate the importance of three things: effective feedback, self- and peer-assessment, and goal setting by the students.
Let's start with feedback. There is a big difference between feedback and making observations or critiques. Consider the difference that two friends recently shared with me. Both had a problem with using a confident voice in front of colleagues and/or students. One of my friends received this "feedback" from her boss…"I don't know why your voice was so shaky and high pitched in that meeting. You sounded scared (shaking his head with bewilderment)." Contrast that with the feedback another friend received, "Ms. Jones, the instructions you gave were important and you said all the right things. However, the students couldn't really hear what you were saying. Try lowering your voice and projecting with confidence. If you want to hear someone who does a good job at this, go next door and listen to Ms. Rameriz - she's got it down." There's a big difference here - one is helpful and has the potential to promote growth and one is simply an insult with no suggestions for improvement.
The same can be said for written feedback. Feedback that only points out problems without providing something positive, and suggestions for improvement is simply criticism. It has no potential to help students grow. In fact, it is likely to discourage them from trying.
Many, many research studies have produced clear and convincing evidence that feedback is vitally important and, if done right, has the potential to significantly improve achievement. And conversely, if done wrong or neglected all together has the potential to actually harm or be detrimental to the learning. In his book, Embedded Formative Assessment, Dylan Wiliam provides a succinct summary of the research and practical strategies for providing quality feedback. I highly recommend that you invest in this book and take it to heart.
Here's the part that's really hard to swallow. According to the research, just assigning a grade to a student's work does nothing to improve learning. Students are either happy or sad (or have no feeling at all) with their grade, then they set it aside and move on. When teachers put feedback or comments on a paper along with the grade, the effect is virtually the same - there is no positive effect. However, if students receive comments only, or success/intervention feedback that has three components 1) positive praise, 2) area that needs work, and 3) how to accomplish or improve, the learning improves significantly and expeditiously.
Oh my. How do we accomplish that in a way that is practical and manageable? To do this, feedback must be provided early on, where there is time to make corrections and should be within the range of what students can act on. Ideally, it should also give students a chance to self-assess as they partner with the teacher in the learning process. Here are three practical ways to provide effective feedback:
There are many other ways to provide effective feedback but this is a start. Give it a try and see for yourself if the learning improves. As you try this in your classroom, share with us strategies that you use to make it manageable! In my next blog, I'll address the power of self- and peer-assessment and goal setting and provide concrete ways of making it happen in your classroom. A post you won't want to miss…
9/12/2016 02:50:57 pm
This was an insightful, useful article. One question: for the students who score 100 right away, do you offer any praise or ways that they can move to the next level? I like the idea that every student can be moved forward, no matter the level of their proficiency.
You are right, Robert. It is important to help all students improve. I try to give feedback regardless. But they do receive a grade that represents that "they've got it" so that they know they've mastered that particular standard or "I Can". Honestly I don't grade on a 100 point scale. I use standards based grading and a 4 tells them they've mastered it, but it's not always perfect.Always room for growth.
9/12/2016 06:05:59 pm
I also have gone to the 4 point grade scale/rubric. Parents often complain that there is no B on this scale, but like you I place the emphasis on feedback and growth rather than on points or letter grades. Looking forward to more articles on this subject!
9/13/2016 07:29:18 am
I have taught middle school English in Los Angeles for the past 24 years. I am finding much the same things as you. Students need early, ongoing feedback while there is still time to catch major errors/misconceptions. I am moving from writer's conferences at my desk to writer's "conversations" so that the interaction and emphasis is on an equal exchange of ideas, suggestions, and praise. The students love it, and it is no more work than sitting by myself anonymously grading papers. Again, thank you for excellent articles and insights!
9/19/2016 07:11:12 pm
In the class I am student teaching I try to give feedback every chance I get. Some of the ways I do this is by monitoring the class and helping redirect students when they are struggling. It is also important to point out when students are doing well in class. I believe all of these help student to self asses, and get learning-oriented feedback. It is important for student to know that the amount of work they put in will lead to success. In my student teaching room I had a student who was dividing wrong when calculating density. He watched the problem as it was being worked on the board, he knew he got the wrong answer and asked for help. I then had him come up and show us what he did. As a class my students helped to guide him to the write answer and talked to him about things that help them divide and get the right answer. At the end of the day he was able to calculate and get the right answer and other students who might have been struggling were able to as well.
9/19/2016 08:46:37 pm
In the class I am student teaching it has been very difficult for me to self asses students because it almost seems as if we are playing catch up to learn material for the STARR test (from the work being provided for me to teach). It is my goal to change the thinking students have in this class, by providing them with the opportunity to receive feedback (on growing) and a opportunity to set goals for themselves. Instead of getting partial credit for corrections being made, and wanting to gain a better grade other than learning the material. I want to provided the students with good feedback, to help them grown in their learning and not feedback that may shuts them down. But I know one thing I need to work on is building their self confidence in participating in class and not letting the "smart kid" always answer my questions. Feedback is not easy to give, and it is also not taken in a positive way when students have not been introduced to it, but when given correctly it can help students lead into a growth mindset and self-efficacy that can help them reach a higher level of learning.
9/20/2016 05:16:18 pm
Brenda, I am having the same issue. I have a few students in each class the want to do all the talking, and many that only speak up when they have to. I am going to try to use the "name sticks" to get answers starting tomorrow. Hopefully, this will make the communication in the classroom more equitable. I'll let you know how it goes.
9/20/2016 05:26:06 pm
I use the think, pair, share strategy to give my students feedback. I usually pose a question, and then instruct my students to discuss it with the people around them. Then, groups share their answers and I give them feedback. Since I teach English, usually the question is not whether the students' answers are right or wrong, but whether it can be supported or not supported. At other times students tell me they are stuck and cannot think of how to phrase their answer. At times like these, I always tell my students to talk me through their thinking process. They are usually surprised to find that they know the answer and can phrase it beautifully when the pressure of a blank sheet of paper is in front of them. Later this week, I am assigning a short essay. I think I will use the feedback form with it. Using that should give me a better understanding not only of my students abilities, but also their perception of heir abilities
9/20/2016 09:04:22 pm
I really like how you have provided them with a strategy to remind them that thinking is okay. Most students want to do the easy work that requires not learning or thinking that when they are put in inquiry based learning they struggle! I really like how you guide them through their thinking Ashley!! It gives me advice on what I should do next time my students get stuck.
9/20/2016 06:17:07 pm
I really appreciate this post and agree with so much that it says. Already in my clinical teaching I have seen how important real, constructive criticism can be. Even from my experience as a student I can say that grades, good or bad, only impacted me for a small time, just as mentioned in this blog. Giving good feedback that can continue the growth is what will produce the learning we want for our students. Knowing this I will strive to always provide feedback that will be effective and timely for my students.
9/20/2016 07:00:42 pm
I'm in the beginning stages of my student teaching I've seen how much feedback is important to the students. They are constantly wanting to know how they did?, what was their grade?, can we make it up?. They are often concerned with their grade while I try to direct them to what they have learned and how they have progressed. A lot of them get down on themselves so quickly when they have not received a grade worth their liking. As I see this, I try to encourage them by letting them know how much they have improved since the last assignment they turned in. I try to get them seeing their progression rather than a number defining them. I now see how we need to change our kids minds from the grade to what they have learned and how they have improved. They students that I have told they are doing good and getting better. I want them to continue to see their improvement and build on that. Get better everyday. Be better than you were the day before, no matter how much of an improvement still strive to get better. After reading this I will continue to encourage my students with seeing how productive it can be for them.
9/20/2016 09:04:15 pm
I agree, while it is easy to hand students a grade and not reflect upon the negative and positive aspects, it is absolutely vital in regards to students not only understanding what they are doing wrong, but also what they need to do in-turn to becoming better upon the provided content. I like the comment you made, "I try to get them seeing their progression rather than a number defining them." Also, while I added earlier that students need to know what they did wrong and how to correct incorrect translation, students must also know the things they did exceptionally well also.
9/20/2016 09:31:07 pm
I think you made a valuable point about helping students continue to see their own improvement. The goal should always be to get better every day, even if it is in something as simple as listening. This is a concept that is so easily lost in music because it is easy for us to get caught up in "perfect practice," especially while rehearsing for a performance. However, it is during those rehearsals that it is most important for students to self-assess and have the goal of progress, not perfection.
9/20/2016 08:57:53 pm
To respond to the previous inquisition, I simply add that as I find myself observing and teaching with the classroom, there is a constant feedback communication between my students and myself. Being an art teacher, there is this ever-present use of feedback on a daily basis regarding mastery, skill, and comprehension of technique. However, though this may not qualify as an official/ tangible representation of feedback, I add that upon completion of projects there is a critique in which I use the "sandwich method", much like the example given in the blog above: positive feedback, what I need to work on/what I could do better, and how I will be better next time. The question I always find myself asking is, "how exactly do I present this in the most simplified version for ALL students to comprehend and understand" and "how will students achieve the goal in representing the provided technique(s) within the instruction." In relation, my students should ask is how they may get to the desired representation of the instruction and, lastly, how does this "desired representation" appear in final form? While the consequences may be negative in the failure to construct student knowledge through understanding, I feel with such previously mentioned ideas present in-mind, one may find more success in portraying a healthy instruction for students to easily comprehend. However, failure to do so (in my area) may result in a long and rigorous re-education through various mediums in order to further student growth (much like many others may do so). Finally, in addition, I feel that I have experienced a failure in conveying correct instruction toward student understanding in developing certain techniques, mastery, etc. To continue, with my second week in-stride, I feel that I have seen a much greater increase in student knowledge through me attempting to portray such understanding through multiple mediums like mentioned before (walk-through, video, project, etc.).
9/20/2016 10:06:20 pm
A great amount of the feedback used in my music classroom is through the students' self-assessment. They are continually self-assessing as they listen to whether or not they are matching the given melody or rhythms. Much of their ability to do this well relies on the amount of time spent on listening to quality music and deciphering what makes music "good." When the students have a clear understanding of those particular concepts and elements, they are better able to set goals for how they will demonstrate mastery of those elements. A strategy for giving feedback to students and helping them self-assess that I think would work very well in music is the "Star and Stairs" method. I love how students can make simple goals such as "I will become more proficient in reading rhythms," and they can then make a visual step by step process on how to reach this goal. Then, the stair process can be used by the teacher to help redirect, correct, or praise the student according to their individual progress. I believe that using a strategy like this would help students ask the appropriate questions to get them thinking with a growth mindset. This is extremely important because, in music, failure to nurture a student's growth mindset can quickly lead them to think in a "performance" or "talent" mentality in which they stop believing they have the ability to perform. However, that is never the case, especially when students are encouraged to through effective feedback to continue working hard. That is why I am constantly reminding my students that mistakes are always welcome, and that the best musicians are not the most talented, but those who practiced the most.
9/21/2016 06:43:55 am
I have been struggling with the concept of not grading the attempts prior to mastery for a task. With the requirements of a certain number of grades each week in the grade book, not assessing a grade is difficult. I have students that believe their grade is of the utmost importance and will come in to re-do an assignment over and over again, until they receive that perfect grade; then soon after will forget the content of the learning. I have other students that as soon as they have a grade, any grade, the assignment is forgotten and they move on to the next thing.
9/21/2016 09:13:49 am
Gina, I agree with you when you say that changing the students' mentality is a big challenge. A lot of our students have never been taught to self-assess and it is a new concept for them which makes it difficult to do it on a continuous basis. But, I also think that if we can figure out a way to incorporate self-assessment into our everyday lessons, it will (eventually) show the students that they can accomplish every task they put their minds to, even the ones that seem impossible. By teaching students to self-assess, it will make our jobs as teachers easier. Maybe this is something we can work on together; each trying new things and discussing our results and progress. We can bounce ideas off of each other!
9/21/2016 06:47:24 am
I believe that feedback is incredibly important for students. They will never understand what they are struggling with if they do not get feedback from their work. They may think that they did something right and continue doing it that was if there is no evidence in them doing it wrong. In my class I try to give feedback to every assignment that we work on. Our students are working through lessons, understanding Microsoft word and creating word documents on their own dealing with skills that we have learned throughout the lesson. Once they complete their lesson I am able to see ever mark that they made on their document, therefore being able to see what skills they have mastered and which ones they have not. Me exemplifying to the student where they have made a mistake in the skill they are learning is a quick fix for them in determining the correct way to do a certain skill within the Word document. When seeing the mistake they made, they are now aware of what they didn't fully grasp from the lesson, and now knowing how to do it. Feedback is essential to learning.
9/21/2016 09:04:27 am
As a student teacher, I have found positive feedback to be a difficult thing for me to deliver to my students. This was surprising to me since I am usually a pretty positive and encouraging person. We have been working on Short Answer Responses in our class and I require my students to let me read their finished work so I can provide feedback and they can make corrections before turning it in for the final time. Sometimes, when I read their response, I think to myself “wow, this isn’t very good,” but I can’t say that to my students. I find myself standing there in silence, staring at their paper, as they look up with me with their little hopeful, expectant faces, and I struggle to come up with something encouraging and productive to say to them. I am also finding it difficult to make them understand what it is that they must include in their Short Answer Response; they understand the steps needed to write the response, but they cannot grasp the concept of explaining their response in a way that connects each one of their required steps. After reading this blog, I have decided to use the peer evaluation and feedback technique in the hopes that talking about the Short Answer Response process with their peers will increase their understanding. I am also going to search for a way to provide my students with an opportunity to self-assess their Short Answer Responses, we have talked about what is required on their SAR a number of times but now I am thinking that I really need to provide them with an easy-to-follow rubric for self-evaluation. I really like the feedback form that was provided in the blog and I might take that and adapt it to my assignment. I feel strongly that by teaching my students to self-assess and set goals for their learning and understanding it will tremendously increase their understanding and help them grasp the concept that I want them to master. I have found that, without the students’ ability to self-assess, my job as a teacher becomes harder. They turn in work that is sub-par because they do not take the time to reread and ask if they have included all the necessary elements needed to master the assignment. I feel like I am repeatedly beating my head against a wall as I grade their SAR’s and see the same mistakes over and over on the same papers over and over. I also really like the idea of not providing a grade for students until they have mastered the concept. In my classroom, I have noticed that students often focus on the grade they got; if it is a low grade, they have the “I give up, I can never get better” mentality. If it is a high grade, they have the “that’s good enough, why do I need to work harder” mentality. So, from now on, I am going to practice providing productive feedback on each paper and withholding a grade until mastery has been reached.
9/21/2016 11:27:11 am
In P.E, the students seem to react and want to contribute to the activities taking place with effective feedback. In my personal experience so far this semester, we have visited several schools and seen several good and bad examples. The coaches that tell their kids how well they are doing and give them a few pointers or places that they can improve upon in a positive manner tend to have the best effect on the kids. Those kids don't shut down and give up like I have seen in other classes where they are pointed out for wrong things or called out in front of everyone as an example of how not to do something.
2/9/2017 12:54:47 pm
I completely agree with your earlier comments and the beginning to middle of the blog; There is a difference between feedback and criticism. I appreciate that you included examples of various scenarios and the suggestions you give educators and future educators alike at the end of this blog post. Such suggestions will be very valuable within the classroom setting.
2/11/2017 12:22:49 pm
In student teaching, the most common way I give feedback is when walking around and monitoring during activities. I look to make sure that they are on the right track, and if not I give them feedback to correct it. I need to ask myself if students really care about what they are learning, or if they are complying just to get a grade. Students need to ask themselves if their goals are reasonable and if they feel like they are assessing their learning in an effective way. If the teacher does not help the students assess themselves and set proper goals, the students will be lost without guidance or knowledge of the direction they are supposed to be headed, or where they are at right now.
2/11/2017 04:23:02 pm
In my clinical teaching classroom, I have given my students many opportunities for small group discussions. During this time I move through the room with a notepad, alternately listening to groups for brief periods of time and taking notes. I may give individual groups of students success feedback or next-step feedback as I catch it, or I may address the groups as a class (either during a pause in the activity or after) when I pick up on widespread misunderstanding or mastery. I particularly like asking questions to students when I recognize something that they need to correct, build on, or clarify. On written assignments, I have been trying to provide success and next-step feedback with a grade, while giving them the option and time to read my feedback, make improvements, and resubmit the assignment for a final grade. As I continue and modify these practices, there are some questions that I should consider as a teacher: Is the type of feedback that I'm giving suited to the abilities of individual students? Does it properly address the intended learning? Does my feedback encourage my students to self-assess, act on feedback with the goal of improvement, and lead them to deeper understanding? In developing a culture of learning in my classroom, my students need to be able to take feedback and ask themselves where their strengths are, where they need to improve, and how they will most reasonably and effectively make improvements. Just as students need feedback and improvement, I have considered this post and the assigned chapters to assess my own feedback practices and recognize that they certainly have room for improvement as well. With regards to the system of written feedback and the option for revising their work that I mentioned previously, the downside of this method is that some of those students who could benefit most from reassessing their work, do not take advantage of the process. I like your suggestion, however, to withhold from assigning a grade on their paper; as this communicates that their work is not yet done. By failing as a teacher to provide students with effective feedback, or teaching them practices to self-assess and set goals, the students will have no way of knowing how close they are what they can do to achieve their learning targets.
2/11/2017 04:52:32 pm
I offer immediate feedback during lessons and feedback on turned in work. We do a lot of lessons using Pear Deck on the chromebooks. I walk around with the iPad and can see every students answer/response as we go. If there is a common misconception, I address it with the whole class. However, if only one student is having trouble, I will speak with him or her individually. I spend a lot of time saying "all of your steps look great, now check your math." My supervising teacher had a system already in place for turned in work that I like. We grade the work, provide written feedback, and return it to the students. But, the students know that that is not their final grade. They can correct the work and/or come in for tutoring then turn the work in to the corrections bin. We re-grade it and return it with their final grade in orange. They know that the orange grade is the one that went in the gradebook.
2/12/2017 09:48:19 am
As you observe and teach in the classroom, how are you offering quality feedback to your students? The feedback I am giving has to do with how hard the student is working, not on the subjective value of the work. Are they trying new techniques to solve a problem and ways that they can do so. This past week many in the painting class had trouble with hair/fur in their animals. With a visual example first of how, then rechecking for understanding, most of the students got it first time. What questions should you be asking about your students’ abilities and opportunities to self-assess and set goals? art lends itself to self-assessment. Artists are their own worst critics. Goal setting in the art room has much to do with time management, are they using the classtime wisely, giving themselves time to complete the project step by step. By asking them if they can complete each step, then they begin to see the final goal. Small steps create quality work. What questions should your students be asking about self-assessment and goal setting? The students need to be asking about the parameters of the assignment and if they are following. I noticed in my art 1 class, many students needed reminder of the minimum piece requirement and size restrictions. By setting their own goals of how many pieces they had to use and knowing that they could exceed that number, the student was constantly self-assessing. I noticed many students took their sculpture apart and rebuilt it, constantly checking if it held together and what the final piece actually looked like. What are the consequences associated with the failure or the ability of the teacher to help students self-assess and set goals? Failure to reach the minimum standard results in a poor grade, but failure while trying a new technique can be seen as what is known as a work in progress. Paint for example is forgiving. One simply lets the failed paint dry and paints over it. One student had not used his canvas, creating a small figure in a large space. With constructive feedback, He simply repainted his image much larger, filling his canvas. A second student did that with an animal he was painting, re-sizing for meet the requirements. The students did the self-assess with the teacher offering positive reinforcement that they could improve through practice.
2/12/2017 11:06:29 am
As you observe and teach in the classroom, how are you offering quality feedback to your students?
2/12/2017 01:56:43 pm
I offer success feedback and what's next feedback constantly in my classroom. In Pre-Cal they are working with the calculators and finding max and min points and constantly I'm saying, "Good job on changing your Y-Max to see the top of the graph but i can't see the far left side of it. So, what do I change in order to see the far left side?". I also use it while I am grading I will write on their homework or quizzes what they are doing well and what they need to work on. I really like the pencil grading method that was talked about in our book. Because it lets them see what their grade would be if this was their "end product", if this was where the learning ended but now they have to use my feedback to correct their mistakes and then i will adjust their grade based on the learning that took place.
2/12/2017 08:42:45 pm
In my classroom, written feedback is difficult because everything is skill based. However, I am using a worksheet to stimulate the visual aspect of what we are learning. The students have to color the sounds of the given rhythm to help them see that our mystery rhythm has three sounds over two beats. By putting this in the middle of the learning, I am able to ascertain what my students have mastered about our mystery rhythm, and which students need a little extra help. When I did this the first time, I took the papers up and wrote feedback, following Dr. Box’s suggested method for feedback. The sequence of praise, areas that need improvement, and how to improve seems like a logical flow of events. I am always more apt to listen to someone who provides feedback in that way than someone who just tells me “Good job,” or “That could have been better.” Our students are the same way. The way feedback is given is part of building confidence and encouraging the growth mindset.
2/14/2017 11:40:12 am
I give written and verbal success feedback daily. Right now my students are practicing writing short answers to questions about something they have read. When I grade their answers I comment on what they did well and what they need to improve on. They are often given the opportunity to look over my comments and make corrections based on my feedback before I actually take a grade on it. They a re also working on poster board projects about the holocaust. For the last two weeks they have been researching about a specific event or person involved in the holocaust. Each day I walk around the room and ask them questions about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what they are researching. If there are any mistakes or things they could improve we talk about that and we also look at what they have done well. The immediate feedback really benefits them because they are able to adjust what they are doing based on what we talk about, I can assess whether or not they are understanding what they are doing, and give them guidance for improvement.
2/14/2017 08:20:54 pm
Some of the best times to gain feedback on a lesson is either during "Clean up" time at the end of a class or during the bellinger of the next class. It is a great time to talk to students one-on-one or in small groups and see what they liked about the lesson, didn't like, would improve etc. I have also found that by talking to the students about plans that I have for upcoming lessons they are able to generally give good suggestions on how to improve it or make it more enjoyable for themselves. By getting oral feedback at the beginning and/or end of class about current lessons and future plans I can not only adjust the current class to be more effective for the other classes later on in the day but I can avoid things that will hinder student learning in future lessons.
2/14/2017 08:25:51 pm
I love the idea of a pending grade. There is no purpose in assigning students “bad” grades with no opportunity to improve. The goal is always student learning, so our grading system should reflect that! We use a version of a feedback form in my clinical teaching classroom before, after, and during units to check for student understanding and for students to be able to reflect on their own learning. Students have a copy of the TEKS for each unit in their interactive notebook, and before we move on they have to rate their understanding for each TEK. I love this time of reflection and student ownership! We are able to, and do make adjustments for learning targets that we need to spend more time on. My teacher has talked to me about Showbie and we will use it soon, so I am excited to be able to use it and learn more about it!
2/14/2017 08:42:32 pm
As you observe and teach in the classroom, how are you offering quality feedback to your students?
Laura Lynn Sims
2/15/2017 05:07:15 am
I offer the most feedback in my own classroom through verbal communication. I am constantly monitoring my students in my room and I talk to each group, or at least half of my students one-on-one. I have noticed when I ask questions during the lesson I will tell them "they are on the right track" if there response to a question is not exactly the answer I am looking for. I have also written feedback on their work when their answers are correct, but may need to be elaborated on. I should be able to start and end class with the same goal in mind with the learning target. The students should use the target to guide their learning. It is important for the students to see where they are struggling and set goals on the area they need to improve on. I think sometimes they do this without knowing it. I like that in Chapter four it had mentioned a checklist for self-assessment. The student can see what they "have" and "don't have" with the I Can's. I like the pending grade option. The students should always take ownership of their work and with the pending grade it puts correcting their work in their own hands. My students should be asking themselves "where am I? and "what can I do to differently?" The teacher needs to help the students be aware of exactly where they are in their learning. A problem that exists with teachers not telling their students what their goals should be, or the teacher failing to teach the student what the goals are can result in lack of interest. For example, when my students know there is a purpose to the learning it makes their learning experience better. They are aware of what should be accomplished in the short amount of time we have together and when they light up when the answer is correct. I have to remind my students to think about what time period we are in history when they respond to a question. I sometimes use their incorrect responses of a specific era as a review from our previous lesson. The feedback students should receive should be effective and immediate feedback to help with their learning.
2/15/2017 05:30:00 am
When teaching, I offer feedback mainly in the oral form. We go through practice problems step by step with me asking questions. If there is an answer that isn't exactly what the question asks for, I will still commend the student for their answer and add, "yes but go further with that." It allows the students to see that they are able to answer incorrectly and not be torn down for it. During our independent work, I am working my way around the class and answering one on one questions with the students. The feedback I give is still in the guiding form so they are reinforcing the process rather than me giving them the answers. On written work, I go through the problems and see how they've shown their work. This allows me to see if they made a simple mistake in the setup or calculating to be able to give them credit and feedback. I will circle and make a quick not as to why they didn't receive full credit. We also allow students to rework worksheets if there are numerous incorrect problems. This allows the student to not continue working problems wrong but see what they can fix. The oral feedback is immediate and I have seen an increase in students answering questions. The environment is safe for them to answer because I am not saying they're wrong but encouraging the deeper answer. I feel that is the main aspect we as teachers should be asking ourselves, "How can our feedback be more effective in increasing learning and the feeling of comfort in answering?" If we begin with that and set it as our feedback goal, our students' participation will increase, as well as their high level thinking for questioning.
2/15/2017 11:17:15 am
There is constant feedback being given in band class. I like to have my warm up include concepts that are present in the music that they are working on. Before we move on, I make sure that what they are playing are how I want it to sound by telling them how they need to adjust. More feedback will be given when that concept comes up whether it was missed, or if they remembered how it was supposed to be played. One goal for one of the classes is to stay engaged during the whole time. When a section is not playing, I like to ask them, "who has the melody?" When they don't answer correctly, I ask them why don't they know and what can they do to find out who has the melody. It has started to catch on and now I believe they are more engaged. If I don't answer questions like that, the students will continue to talk during the piece and be a distraction.
2/15/2017 03:42:07 pm
I've noticed that during my student teaching that most of my opportunities for feedback come when I am introducing what we are about to do that day in class and asking who can give me a recap of what we worked on last class period. This allows me to see what they learned and more importantly retained. Also, when I assign class time for independent practice I will have students ask me about comments made on their paper or for clarity and assistance in regards to what we are working on; both of these things allow me to see possible common misunderstandings among the whole class as well as possible things I need to do better of explaining and clarifying my instruction.
9/21/2017 09:36:15 pm
As I am now teaching, grading papers, being more responsible for students learning, my goal in the student teaching is to enjoy the learning. In doing so, just because I put a grade on a paper, I really try to give students feedback in a way that the lesson, practice, quiz and tests applies to them. For instance, working with projectile motion problems (parabolas), I have students try to image and understand what the question/problem is telling them and what they need to look for. I have them imagining themselves in the problem to help figure out the solution of each problem. I let students know that, progression in the learning is more important than the number grade. Each time we get better, we move forward to our destination.
9/24/2017 04:04:34 pm
As this semester of clinical teaching progresses, I am noticing more and more opportunities to provide different kinds of feedback. For the most part thus far, the feedback I've provided to students is verbal -- whether in response to an answer they've given me, a question they've asked, etc. I do my best to answer a question with another question (especially in discussions with my government classes) to provoke deeper thought and have students metacognitively assess their own reasoning. In this feedback, however, I never directly tell a student he or she is wrong. While they might not be correct, it's important to remember that students more likely than not think quite differently than I do. They're probably on the right track, but the connections they make on the way to a solution may look nothing like I expect. So, when providing feedback, it's important for me to keep this in mind, and encourage them to keep going in a positive way.
10/1/2017 12:19:23 pm
I think feedback is something I still need to work on. I love the system mentioned above about the pending grade, I think it’s a great motivator and way encourage mastery. I feel as though with the way we have our class set up I’m able to give a lot of constructive and corrective feedback in person in class but on written assignments I need to work on doing better at. Our classroom is very used to using the self-assessment tool of fist to five multiple times a day to see how comfortable they are with different skills and concept. With some students I feel as though this tool works really well and with others I don’t feel as though they don’t understand enough about their knowledge to fully self-asses. This is something I really want to work with them on. I feel as though I need to ask more specific questions or give them more of an opportunity to experience a specific skill on their own before having them self-asses. One thing that I am trying to get across to the students that has been really hard is the idea of “failure”. Failure is always looked at as a bad thing but I want the kids to stop seeing it as failure and instead use the lower grade to help them set productive goal and be a make the help measure the success that is to come. Our policy is that students always can redo or correct an assignment up to 4 times. And when I say redo or correct I mean the old grade goes away and is replaced in full by the new grade so they do not need to get discouraged if their first grade is bad but rather see it as a growing opportunity and continue to work at that even after the grade reaches the “passing” grade of a 70.
9/27/2017 05:40:35 am
During my time as a student teacher, I am striving to provide quality feedback to my students as soon as possible. In rehearsal, if there is something that needs to be fixed, we will stop and address the problem. We tell them where the problem lies, how that sounds, and how to fix it to produce the desired effect. We will then model the desired effect and have students imitate our example. Depending on the current attitude of the class, feedback is given either as soon as a problem occurs, or after they have finished the phrase in which the mistake occurred. As we do this, we ask students if they can hear a difference between their current tone, for example, and the desired tone. If they are not able to self-assess themselves and hear when the tone becomes swallowed, they will not be able to fix it in performance, and we as directors will have to keep addressing the tone. Self-assessment allows teachers to ask themselves if students not only know the expectation, but have been taught how to fix future mistakes. Students should be able to ask themselves if they are meeting or working toward the learning target, and how to move themselves forward toward understanding or mastery. However, students must be part of an environment focused on mastery and not grades in order to most successfully use self-evaluation. If they believe there is a chance of failure, students will be afraid to try assessing themselves. Students need classroom where learning is messy and failures occur without reprimand in order to fully focus on the mastery of content, not the grade they receive.
9/27/2017 12:35:24 pm
We started off the school year without the biggest project in the year. The idea of the "Me bag" unit was to explore the elements of design (line, space, shape, texture, and pattern). Through the weeks of constructing the bag, I was given the opportunity to say. "There are no right answers, there are some wrong answers, but this is your bag, and you can do anything with it as long as you follow the guidelines." The project was a design based project, so all of the results looked different. Other sayings I said where. "If you can justify it, you can put it on the bag." This approach to teaching students how to design something and struggle in a low-stakes environment. The feedback in this assignment was primarily verbal. "This looks good," "can we add some color here" sort of phrases. At the beginning of the unit we quickly modeled way every design element could look, and if students needed some more help, space and the use of space was an issue that continued to pop up, I would sketch another example on the spot. One cool thing about the project was that in the design and presentation of the bag students had to set goals. One entire side of the bag was dedicated to the future. Students have to come up with two goals. One goal was for the corse and one for their personal lives. Students presented these goals in front of the class to wrap up the assignment.
10/1/2017 12:20:26 pm
I think feedback is something I still need to work on. I love the system mentioned above about the pending grade, I think it’s a great motivator and way encourage mastery. I feel as though with the way we have our class set up I’m able to give a lot of constructive and corrective feedback in person in class but on written assignments I need to work on doing better at. Our classroom is very used to using the self-assessment tool of fist to five multiple times a day to see how comfortable they are with different skills and concept. With some students I feel as though this tool works really well and with others I don’t feel as though they don’t understand enough about their knowledge to fully self-asses. This is something I really want to work with them on. I feel as though I need to ask more specific questions or give them more of an opportunity to experience a specific skill on their own before having them self-asses. One thing that I am trying to get across to the students that has been really hard is the idea of “failure”. Failure is always looked at as a bad thing but I want the kids to stop seeing it as failure and instead use the lower grade to help them set productive goal and be a make the help measure the success that is to come. Our policy is that students always can redo or correct an assignment up to 4 times. And when I say redo or correct I mean the old grade goes away and is replaced in full by the new grade so they do not need to get discouraged if their first grade is bad but rather see it as a growing opportunity and continue to work at that even after the grade reaches the “passing” grade of a 70
10/4/2017 08:29:06 pm
One way in which I give students feedback is on the exit slips I have them do regularly. I will point out what they do well on them and ask questions to help them rethink concepts that they may have been incorrect about. One thing we do a lot is class discussion. This allows me to give feedback immediately while the learning is still going on. Additionally, I try to talk to my students when opportunities rise about what they are doing well or how they can improve in their learning.
10/4/2017 08:04:24 pm
What questions should you be asking about your students’ abilities and opportunities to self-assess and set goals? What questions should your students be asking about self-assessment and goal setting? What are the consequences associated with the failure or the ability of the teacher to help students self-assess and set goals? Give specific examples from your classes.
2/12/2018 10:58:07 am
Since I have begun clinical teaching I have been able to experience the dynamic of having control of the classroom and the importance of quality feedback. I, personally, still struggle with feedback because I grew up in schools that would simply hand me my grades with no explanations. I did not like that as a student so as a teacher I have been working on breaking out of that habit. I explain to my students what they need to improve and I also give them an opportunity to make corrections. What I love about the school I am placed in is that there is an enrichment period and that gives me the opportunity to sit down with certain students and have the one on one time they need to provide that feedback. The students are not very familiar with self-assessment but I have begun to introduce it to them. We did a project at the beginning of my student teaching and I had the students self-assess afterwards and it was very helpful for most of the students. As a teacher, I have to give my students the opportunities to do that self-assessment, to set goals, and to allow them to show me their abilities.
2/13/2018 12:39:16 pm
I love the idea of writing "pending" on work. It is so much more positive than writing a letter grade. I guess what is hard for me is how I could apply this in my high school music class. We don't do any writing except marking measure numbers and writing in our solfege on our music. I would love to include this in my classroom, but I do not know how. (Ideas would be great)
2/14/2018 09:50:48 am
I like the method of circling or starring something that a student is consistently struggling with. I could see myself using this in my own classroom. if students are having trouble with memorization or forgetting the blocking of a certain scene, highlighting it or giving it special attention will help them.
2/14/2018 10:27:04 am
I also really like this idea. Students are always having to work on homework corrections in math, and seem to only be interested in their grade. By not writing an actual numerical grade on the top of their paper, they will know that they need to grow in a certain area before receiving a grade.
2/13/2018 02:42:28 pm
Most of the feedback given in the elementary music classroom is done vocally involving rhythms and pitches. For example, today my second graders were working on their songs for their program that is coming up and I gave them feedback by saying "you sound beautiful, but I really want you to sing louder and with more confidence" and "I think you can get that rhythm cleaner, clap it with me". I often ask my students questions like "how could you have done this better?" because they usually know exactly what they need to improve on. I classify this as self-assessment because my students are assessing their work aurally. Most self-assessment done in the music classroom is done by individual students listening carefully to whether or not they are matching pitch or matching rhythm and steady beat.
2/13/2018 09:42:12 pm
Using feedback is something that has been a challenge for me to do so far in clinical teaching because i have many students who are focused only on that grade that goes in the gradebook without seeing the bigger picture of being able to master the learning targets. The first strategy with the pending grades is a great idea that i will have to incorporate into my next lessons and assignments and see if the students will overcome that mentality of doing just enough to get the letter grade that they want.
2/14/2018 09:53:52 am
I agree completely agree, if feedback is not specific to the assignment our students will be more inclined to ignore it. Giving something that is specific to what was done well will encourage them more and feedback that is specific to improvements will encourage growth.
2/14/2018 07:38:47 am
Self-assessment in and of itself has been a difficult task I have struggled with during student teaching, during my two week unit, it was great, however, in the real classroom setting, i simply, have not planned for it. I plan for formative assessment great, but self-assessment is something that I need to start incorporating too. But i love how you gave the two examples of feedback, one positive, and one negative. I do feel ilke in the classroom setting, you typically see that kind of negative feedback which primarily focuses on the the wrongs. But as you pointed out, feedback isn't a negative process, the goods she be highlighted as well, as well as directing the person to tools or other means that may be able to build on their already positive attributes. In my mind, I see it as looking at the cup half full or half empty. I would like to research more about self-assessment and try to incorporate in my middle school mathematics class.
2/14/2018 10:40:32 am
I agree with you Michael in stating that both kinds of feedback is vital for development and understanding. In my lesson, both with myself in our weekly reflections, as well as my students, I use grows and glows. This seems like an easy strategy to use in English and with writing, but I think if you use it for students to self reflect on things such as effort or understanding rather then content it will pull students into deeper feedback and understanding. Just a thought :)
2/14/2018 08:52:38 am
When grading, I struggle with determining what feedback I should be giving the students. They have the opportunity to correct their work, so I do not want to simply correct the answer for them. I have also struggled with determining how many points to count off of a students grade. For example, say they have the correct answer, but it should be negative instead of positive. They technically missed it, so should the whole problem be counted as incorrect? These are just some of the decisions that I have had to make when grading. I really haven't provided the students with as much feedback as I would like to. It seems that the students only care about what their grade is going to be. When formatively assessing students during group or partner activities, I do provide verbal feedback. The students know what they have done well, and what they need to continue to improve on. I, and the students, need to continually be asking where am I going? or what is the learning target that I am aiming for? When students don't know what they are working towards, and are not given constructive feedback, the students ultimately do not learn, and their grade will reflect that.
2/14/2018 09:48:01 am
Theatre relies very heavily on feedback, they cannot see how they speak, move, and look onstage so in order to improve peer/teacher critiques are used overtime there is a performance. At first I was worried to give feedback because I didn't want my students to think I was criticizing them but I found that with a balance on glows and grows the students respond very well to feedback. In critiquing acting performances I often ask students why they are doing a specific movement or gesture and see if they respond with scriptural evidence. If they don't it tells me that I need to probe them about their character choices a little more. Asking questions like; Why do you think you character would say that line in that particular way? How would your character react to that event? When working with young actors they don't have the performance muscle memory to give genuine reacts so reinforcing those questions really gets them to start think about their character as if they were a real person. With my high schoolers, who are at a high level of performance, feedback is more self-assessment focused. Getting themselves to notice if they are doing something that doesn't feel natural and correct it is something they are currently working towards. Their ultimate goal is to pursue theatre professionally and that means learning how to develop certain skills by yourself. Mr. Lierman and I have laid the groundwork for them, now it is their job to make it second nature and reflect. If we fail to give feedback and assess our students as we go they will fall into bad perforce habits and those are difficult to break the longer they continue doing them. I have a student who is a junior and he sways his hands when he acts and it is a habit that is really challenging to break but had it been addressed earlier on and been corrected through assessment and reflection he couldn't have broken hat habit easier. In preparing both levels of students for the next level, it is crucial for them to be moldable performers and that starts with giving good and specific feedback and that makes sense to them and that they can actually use.
2/14/2018 10:22:59 am
As I student teach, I try not to give them feedback that just flat out gives the a direct answer of what to do but I try to get them to come to the conclusion on their own. That doesn't always work or it provides a lot of coaxing. There have been times when I ask them why they didn't do just a little more or I stress to them the benefits of self-assessing, they roll their eyes and say that they just don't want to put in the extra effort or they just don't care that much. I think this is because they don't really know what self-assessing is so it seems like just another thing to do and they haven't seen the benefits that can come from self-assessing. I just can't seem to motivate them to care about how they do on an assignment. When they ask me why they should care, I sometimes don't really know how to respond because I was always one that cared about how well I did on something. They don't care until the end of the six weeks and their parents are continually asking them why they have poor grades or missing work. I don't know how to get them to care right off the bat so they don't have missing work or half-hearted attempts at work. For the past two weeks, students have been turning in their Egypt projects and the work has been far less than what was wanted. Honestly though, I expected the work to be like that because the teacher didn't show them a rubric or an example of good work before they started. She didn't help them plan out how they should do things piece by piece. I tried making a plan with a few of the students I worked with one-on-one but they really just didn't know what goal they were shooting for. And now, since it is the end of the six weeks, they don't have time to correct their work. All that happened was that they were chastised for doing poorly.
2/14/2018 10:35:11 am
Feedback has completely consumed my class, and I love it. Recently we have been reflecting on STAAR essay writing. We have done individual reflection and peer reflection. Then we have applied what we had learned by writing an essay to a new prompt. We really have focused on developing our ideas and thesis statements. During this time of development, students are brainstorming ideas and trying to write a strong thesis. It is easy to want to "give them ideas" or "write their thesis for them" but I have really focused on making sure my feedback promotes individual thought and ideas. My feedback should help direct but not answer. I am the conductor but they are the music. I show them the direction but they are what makes it beautiful by developing their ideas as well as their identity. I want to be a source of feedback that the can trust, no matter if I am discussing their weaknesses or their strengths. I have found, specifically in these activities as well as others, that the dialect between teach/student or student/student holds more value then a number grade. Students received a number grade (either a 1,2,3, or 4) on their essay, but that grade did nothing for them. What truly addressed their strength and weaknesses was the discussion and actives- the feedback. I am so glad that this was one of the first true lesson plans that I developed because it really stressed and over emphasized the importance of feedback to promote student understanding.
2/14/2018 11:18:03 am
In my classroom, all papers are graded with feedback. We always add one strength as well as where to grow. When the students get their paper back, they can grab a remediation form and come in to remediate. The form shows they have worked on their paper and the improvements they make. Sometimes the small improvements are what the get most praise. When the students can understand and fix just one issue, and understand it well, it counts more than just correcting for the 100. When we work in class, we are constantly asking questions of what they understand or what may be confusing. Everyone is encouraged to ask what they are to be learning and what they need to understand so they can be more effective learners. When we present the agenda, we also give time for students to ask about what is going on. If the students didn't feel they could raise their knowledge and a grade is just what they get, they wouldn't be able to grow as a learner. They would feel like a failure and become stagnant in their own education.
2/14/2018 11:51:15 am
When it comes to goals and expectations, one of the things I'm doing with my students is doing a short lesson at the beginning of Friday classes over the growth mindset to help them develop growth mindset. I also try to give praise for progress made, keeping in mind that students start at different places. When it comes to goals in the classroom, backwards design helps me with helping students set goals, and it's something I want to improve on as I'm student teaching.
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I am a former science teacher and currently work at Lubbock Christian University as the QEP Director and in the School of Education preparing future teachers. I am passionate about helping teachers find practical ways to improve learning!