Thursday, August 29, 2013

Feedback and grading

 As Bill Cosby says, "I started out as a child." Thus, my first real experience with feedback and grading was in kindergarten and from that point forward I would find that it would feel like it was non-stop. Kindergarten to doctorate. Throughout all of those years, I have received input on my school performance, some good some bad. The most frustrating of which was the X. You know what I mean...

Picture it...Do you remember the impact of this?
 Don't get me wrong, I know that it means wrong. Does it help with the receiver understanding anything other than the answer was wrong? Feedback should be coupled with it. Instructional "look closely where you multiplied two negative numbers"...How about, "What happens when you add heat to the equation?" Or..."Why was the Battle of Hastings significant?" "You used the word incorrectly..."
It is important for the student to understand why he/she missed the question/problem. Some students see the X as ...Ok..I don't need to do anything...I just got it wrong...a teaching moment has been lost..

I have had quizzes, some planned and some of the "surprise, surprise" type. Tests of all sorts. Projects. Research papers. Homework. Classwork. Book reports. I have had assignments and assessments in all classes like science, math, history, English, language, and extracurricular. In all cases, I have received some input on my performance. Some helpful, some not so much. Look at these different types of feedback...

         Did you ever get a smiley face? How about three? ( Lived for those smiley faces. They were in high school.) How about good job! Best work ever! You can do better! Work harder! Write more! Poor. Not quite. Are you kidding? F. Even, No! Wrong!  

If we are trying to help them improve and develop understanding it is imperative that we learn to provide proper feedback. The comments cannot be judgmental, they have to be instructional.

Take a look at these resources for jump starting.

How to give effective feedback to your students. Susan M. Brookhart, ASCD. 2008.  or

Drive on...