Sunday, July 31, 2011

Providing Opportunities for using Feedback

Teachers give feedback to help students learn - it's intended to be formative - yet students also expect to be given feedback after summative assessments too.  This is only useful if students then have the opportunity to use it.  Sometimes students want to redo the same work again, taking account of the feedback.  As a teacher I've often thought we should allow students to do this - if we don't we are giving them the message that we are "done" with the learning for that particular unit or topic which is not really a message we want to be giving.  However it's hard to reassess an assignment that has been "fixed" by the student following a teacher's comments:  does this really show what the student has been able to achieve, or does it merely show that the student has been successful in following the teacher's instructions?

Feedback from summative assessment is probably best used on future, similar assignments as this will show whether or not the students have actually mastered something and have been able to extend their learning.  This means the teacher must provide another opportunity for students to use the feedback.  As Susan M. Brookhart says,  "Feedback from one report can help the student with the next report, only if there is a next report."

Photo credit:  First grade reading - small group breakout by Woodleywonderworks Attribution 

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