As I prepare students for their next assignment I have stirred considerable interest in feedback and feed forward in conversations with students and staff.
Effective feedback is an enormous topic – and a crucial one for us to understand due to its powerful effect on student achievement. Few aspects of teaching and learning have more potential to raise achievement.
To be effective, feedback must be goal-referenced, understandable, and immediately actionable. Feedback should not be advice, evaluation, or value judgements.
Marge Scherer, editor of ASCD’s Educational Leadership, says that the best feedback “describes what the student has done and helps the student decide what to do next.” – notice she used the verb “describes” and not “evaluates”.
John Hattie and Helen Temperley, in their 2007 Article for Educational Review “Assessment: Feedback to Promote Student Learning”, gave us the three essential questions:
1. Where am I going? (What is the goal?)
2. How am I going? (What progress is being made towards the goal?)
3. Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?)
Hattie and Temperley called these: feed-up, feed-back, and feed-forward.
Grant Wiggins does a great job of further describing what effective feedback is and isn’t in his article: 7 Keys to Effective Feedback.
For Effective Teacher-to-Learner Feedback:
The key to effective feedback actually comes BEFORE the students begin their work. Effective feedback requires well designed learning goals and success criteria against which students’ progress can be compared to formulate good feedback. The timing of the completion of the work must be planned so the feedback can be given DURING the learning process, not after it. Feedback loses a great deal of its impact if it is accompanied by a mark or grade.
To maximise the effectiveness of the feedback, teachers must:
Set clear, concrete, specific learning goals and must demonstrate what success will look like:
Do the students know what success looks like? Are the criteria clear enough for students to measure their work against it to identify gaps?
If you have the time and want to dive into some indepth study of Learning Goals, the Ontario Ministry of Education has put together a short-course: Learning Goals & Success Criteria (6 videos of approx 8mins and a 57 page self-study guide).
Thanks to my PLN for providing me with this information this week.
Thanks for the questions and feedback on online learning.
I hope this is useful. In my teaching environment we commonly use the discovery approach to learning. Students have little trouble with the discovery approach to learning (Constructivist), so long as it is purposeful, engaging and directed at using the processes of cognition that improve learning. The experience of this pedagogy is that it encourages teachers to deliver lessons that are accessible to the Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learner. The research of Kolb and Fry and also of Peter Jarvis, serves to remind us that in designing Online Courses, it is necessary to cater for the wide range of learning styles that exist (Smith 2001). Online Learning, should allow students to experience the Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic aspects of learning. This suggests that the online delivery of courses should draw on rich-mixed forms of media, to ensure maximum engagement with the students. Please contact me for references noted here.