Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback

by Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Howard Pitler and Bj Stone

The key to making your students learning experiences worthwhile is to focus your planning on major instructional goals, phrased in terms of desired student outcomesthe knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and dispositions that you want to develop in your students. Goals, not content coverage or learning processes, provide the rationale for curriculum and instruction.

Jere Brophy,Motivating Students to Learn

Imagine that you had to go to a city you havent visited before. You know that cities have a variety of services and attractions, but you dont know exactly what you are supposed to do in this particular city. Should you provide a service for someone, gather information about a particular person or place, or do something else? Without a specific objective, you could spend your time on something that isnt important or that makes it difficult to know whether your time in the city was worth the trip.

Being in a classroom without knowing the direction for learning is similar to taking a purposeless trip to an unfamiliar city. Teachers can set objectives to ensure that students journeys with learning are purposeful. When teachers identify and communicate clear learning objectives, they send the message that there is a focus for the learning activities to come. This reassures students that there is a reason for learning and provides teachers with a focal point for planning instruction. Providing feedback specific to learning objectives helps students improve their performance and solidify their understanding.

Setting objectives and providing feedback work in tandem. Teachers need to identify success criteria for learning objectives so students know when they have achieved those objectives (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Similarly, feedback should be provided for tasks that are related to the learning objectives; this way, students understand the purpose of the work they are asked to do, build a coherent understanding of a content domain, and develop high levels of skill in a specific domain. In this chapter, we present classroom practices for setting objectives and providing feedback that reassure students that their teacher is focused on helping them succeed.

Setting objectives is the process of establishing a direction to guide learning (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). When teachers communicate objectives for student learning, students can see more easily the connections between what they are doing in class and what they are supposed to learn. They can gauge their starting point in relation to the learning objectives and determine what they need to pay attention to and where they might need help from the teacher or others. This clarity helps decrease anxiety about their ability to succeed. In addition, students build intrinsic motivation when they set personal learning objectives.

Providing feedback is an ongoing process in which teachers communicate information to students that helps them better understand what they are to learn, what high-quality performance looks like, and what changes are necessary to improve their learning (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Shute, 2008). Feedback provides information that helps learners confirm, refine, or restructure various kinds of knowledge, strategies, and beliefs that are related to the learning objectives (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). When feedback provides explicit guidance that helps students adjust their learning (e.g., Can you think of another way to approach this task?), there is a greater impact on achievement, students are more likely to take risks with their learning, and they are more likely to keep trying until they succeed (Brookhart, 2008; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Shute, 2008).

The results from McRELs 2010 study indicate that the strategies of setting objectives and providing feedback have positive impacts on student achievement. The 2010 study provides separate effect sizes for setting objectives (0.31) and providing feedback (0.76). These translate to percentile gains of 12 points and 28 points, respectively. The first edition of this book reported a combined effect size of 0.61, or a percentile gain of 23 points, for this category. Differences in effect sizes may reflect the different methodologies used in the two studies, as well as the smaller study sample size (four studies related to setting objectives; five studies related to providing feedback) and the specific definitions used in the 2010 study to describe the two strategies.

Studies related to setting objectives emphasize the importance of supporting students as they self-select learning targets, self-monitor their progress, and self-assess their development (Glaser & Brunstein, 2007; Mooney, Ryan, Uhing, Reid, & Epstein, 2005). For example, in the Glaser and Brunstein study (2007), 4th grade students who received instruction in writing strategies and self-regulation strategies (e.g., goal setting, self-assessment, and strategy monitoring) were better able to use their knowledge when planning and revising a story, and they wrote stories that were more complete and of higher quality than the stories of control students and students who received only strategy instruction. In addition, they retained the level of performance they reached at the post-test over time, and when asked to recall parts of an orally presented story, the strategy plus self-regulation students scored higher on the written recall measure than did students in the other two groups.

The studies related to feedback underscore the importance of providing feedback that is instructive, timely, referenced to the actual task, and focused on what is correct and what to do next (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Shute, 2008). They also address the use of attributional and metacognitive feedback. For example, a study by Kramarski and Zeichner (2001) investigated the use of metacognitive feedback versus results feedback in a 6th grade mathematics class as a way to help students know what to do to improve their performance. Metacognitive feedback was provided by asking questions that served as cues about the content and structure of the problem and ways to solve it. Results feedback provided cues related to the final outcome of the problem. Students who received metacognitive feedback significantly outperformed students who received results feedback, in terms of mathematical achievement and the ability to provide mathematical explanations. They were more likely to provide explanations of their mathematical reasoning, and those explanations were robustthey included both algebraic rules and verbal arguments.

At a minimum, setting objectives involves clearly communicating what students are to learn. The classroom practices presented in this chapter emphasize that there are additional actions teachers should take to maximize this strategys potential for improving student achievement.

There are four recommendations for setting objectives in the classroom:

Set learning objectives that are specific but not restrictive.

Communicate the learning objectives to students and parents.

Connect the learning objectives to previous and future learning.

Engage students in setting personal learning objectives.

The process of setting learning objectives begins with knowing the specific standards, benchmarks, and supporting knowledge that students in your school or district are required to learn. State and local standards or curriculum documents are generally the source for this information. Often, standards are written at a fairly general level. If they are not too broad, they might serve as learning objectives at the course or unit level. Often, teachers must unpack the statements of knowledge in their standards document to drill down to more specific statements of knowledge and skills that can serve as the focus for instructional design and delivery. For example, as a 3rd grade teacher prepares to design and deliver writing instruction, he or she might encounter the following 3rd grade standard and expectation:Standard:Use the general skills and strategies of the writing process.Benchmark:Write informative/explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

In this example, the standard is written at a very general level. The benchmark statement is more specific and could serve as the learning objective for a unit or portion of a unit. Notice that the benchmark provides detail about what the student must be able to do (write informative/explanatory text) and for what purpose (to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly). To identify learning objectives for individual lessons, the teacher might begin by asking the question What does it mean for students to write informative/ explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly? By answering this question, the teacher can determine what students must know, understand, and be able to do.

In this example, the teacher may use the unpacking process to determine that, in order to demonstrate proficiency, students need to be responsible for the entire process of writing a paragraph that groups sentences around a specific topic. This includes

Generating the topic, instead of receiving the topic from the teacher.

Understanding the procedure for writing a complete paragraph.

Demonstrating the ability to write a complete paragraph that includes an introductory sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence, without the aid of sentence starters or similar assistance.

Demonstrating the ability to establish and maintain coherence throughout a paragraph by aligning sentences with one another and to the topic.

The teacher uses the knowledge and skills identified through the unpacking process to develop lesson objectives. These objectives explicitly focus instruction on guiding students toward proficiency with the content knowledge and skills expressed in the standards document. Learning objectives should not be so broad that they are meaningless or so narrow that they limit learning or provide few opportunities for differentiation. Figure 1.1 presents examples of learning objectives that are too general, too specific, and appropriately specific.

To provide the guidance that students need, learning objectives should be stated in terms of what students are supposed to learn, not what activity or assignment they are expected to complete. For example, Understand how white settlers interacted with American Indians is a learning objective, and Read pages 1417 and answer the questions about ways that white settlers interacted with American Indians is a learning activity. The learning objective is what students should know, understand, or be able to do as a result of completing the learning activity or assignment. Stating learning objectives as statements of knowledge underscores the point that attaining objectives is about acquiring knowledge rather than competing against others (Brophy, 2004).

Figure 1.1. Specificity of Learning Objectives

Understand the fundamental concepts of growth and development.

Describe the function of the respiratory system in three sentences.

Identify basic human body systems and their functions.

Use movement concepts and principles in the development of motor skills.

Explain how the principle of overload applies to training for a basketball competition, including at least five details in your explanation.

Apply the physiological principles that govern, maintain, and improve motor skills.

Describe three observations about how bean plants grow, using four pictures and at least four numbers.

Record and describe observations with pictures, numbers, or words.

It is important to communicate learning objectives to students explicitly by stating them verbally, displaying them in writing, and calling attention to them throughout a unit or lesson. Clearly stating the learning objectives in student-friendly language helps students focus on what you want them to learn.

Communicating learning objectives to parents helps them understand and become engaged in what their children are learning. When thus informed, parents can then ask their children specific questions, such as What did you learn today about safety rules in the home and school? or Whats the most interesting thing about the different states of matter? Providing multiple optionsblogs, text messages, e-mails, lettersfor parents to access information about learning objectives sends the message that you value their involvement.

ExampleAdministrators at a school in Saipan are experiencing some difficulty as they attempt to identify learning objectives during their regular classroom walkthroughs. They suppose that iftheyare having a difficult time, then students might be experiencing a similar frustration. After teachers understand the administrators concerns, they decide to denote an area on the classroom boards where the objective can always be found. Each teacher sections off a square of his or her board and then divides the square into two columns. In the left column, teachers write the learning objectives. In the right column, they write the learning activity that the class will focus on during each day or period. Now, anyone who enters the classroomstudents, visitors, or administratorscan quickly find the objective and know exactly what is happening each day.Many teachers now use social media to communicate learning objectives to audiences outside the classroom. For example, a teacher might post weekly objectives on his or her class blog or wiki. Tools such as blogs, websites, and social media pages allow parents to have immediate and accurate access to what is happening in the classroom.

Teachers should explain how learning objectives connect with previous lessons or units or with the larger picture of a particular unit or course (Brophy, 2004; Urdan, 2004). Although most teachers do this naturally, this recommendation is meant to ensure that educators explicitly call students attention to how the current learning objective is connected to something they have already learned and how they will apply what they are learning now to future studies.

ExampleMr. Jackson, a 4th grade mathematics teacher, wants to be sure his students understand the connections between what they are doing in a given days lesson and previous lessons on the same topic. He tells his students, Weve been learning how to add and subtract fractions with like denominators. Today, were going to apply that knowledge and what we learned about writing equivalent fractions to add fractions with unlike denominators. Eventually, you will be able to apply this knowledge to a cooking activity in which you will combine ingredients to make a Fall Festival cake.This practice helps Mr. Jacksons students build a more complete mental image of the topic being studied, and it encourages them to commit to the learning objectives.

Providing opportunities for students to personalize the learning objectives identified by the teacher can increase their motivation for learning (Brophy, 2004; Morgan, 1985; Page-Voth & Graham, 1999). Students feel a greater sense of control over what they learn when they can identify how the learning is relevant to them. In addition, this practice helps students develop self-regulation (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Students who are skilled at self-regulation are able to consciously set goals for their learning and monitor their understanding and progress as they engage in a task. They also can plan appropriately, identify and use necessary resources, respond appropriately to feedback, and evaluate the effectiveness of their actions. Acquiring these skills helps students become independent lifelong learners.

Many students do not have experience with writing their own learning objectives, so it is important for teachers to model the process and provide students with feedback when they are first learning how to set their own learning objectives (White, Hohn, & Tollefson, 1997). Teachers can guide students in the process by

Providing them with sentence stems such as I know that but I want to know more about and I want to know if Younger students can write I can or I will statements.

Asking them to complete a K-W-L chart as a way to record what they know (K) about the topic, what they want (W) to know as a result of the unit or lesson, and what they learned (L) as a result of the unit or lesson (Ogle, 1986). Students can complete the

section throughout the unit or lesson. Adding a column labeled What I Think I Know reduces stress about being correct and expands students thinking.

Checking their learning objectives to ensure they are meaningful and attainable within the given time period and with available resources.

If students do not have enough prior knowledge to set personal learning objectives at the beginning of a unit, delay this task until they have engaged in some of the units learning activities. If students struggle with setting personal learning objectives, ask them to talk to a few other students to gather some ideas, or provide some examples and invite them to select one of them.

Studies have shown that contracts can have positive effects on students ability to set objectives for their learning (Brophy, 2004; Greenwood, 2002; Kahle & Kelly, 1994; Miller & Kelley, 1994; Tomlinson, 2001). These contracts provide students with control over their learning and provide opportunities for teachers to differentiate instruction to better accommodate students learning needs (Tomlinson, 1995). As illustrated in Figure 1.2, contracts can include teacher-identified or student-identified learning objectives. They can take the form of a learning plan that provides options for the kinds of activities students do on particular days and at specific times. In addition, they also provide students with guidance about what they need to accomplish, help students organize their time, and provide ongoing opportunities for students to seek or provide their own feedback.

In this example, elementary students are learning about Earths cycles. Specifically, they are working on the learning objective Knows how features on the Earths surface are constantly changed by a combination of slow and rapid processes (e.g., slow processes, such as weathering, erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment caused by waves, wind, water, and ice; rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. As shown by Figure 1.2, this student wants to know why some changes on Earth happen steadily, whereas others happen irregularly. He plans to research this information by watching a few online streaming videos recommended by his teacher and by conducting targeted Internet searches.

Figure 1.2. Sample Learning Contract for Elementary Science

Activities I Will Do to Achieve the Objective

Explain changes in the real world using a model.

Know that changes are steady or irregular.

Know that some changes are repetitive.

I want to know why some changes are steady and some are irregular.

By providing students with feedback that is corrective, timely, and focused on criteria, and by involving them in the feedback process, teachers can create a classroom environment that fosters and supports learning. The classroom practices featured in this chapter emphasize that the goal of providing feedback is to give students information about their performance relative to a particular learning objective so they can improve their performance and understand themselves better as learners.

There are four recommendations for classroom practice with regard to providing feedback:

Provide feedback that addresses what is correct and elaborates on what students need to do next.

Provide feedback appropriately in time to meet students needs.

Provide feedback that is criterion referenced.

Engage students in the feedback process.

This practice underscores the link between learning objectives and feedback. Providing specific feedback that helps students know how to improve their performance requires teachers to identify and understand the learning objectives (Stiggins, 2001). If teachers do not understand the learning objectives, it is difficult for them to provide students with information about what good performance or high-quality work looks like.

Feedback should help students understand what was correct as well as contain specifics about what was incorrect. If a students performance falls short because he or she is operating from faulty interpretations or hypotheses, feedback should make this clear (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). For example, if students assume that seasons are due to Earths distance from the sun, the teachers feedback should include information that helps students understand that seasons are a consequence of Earths tilt. Providing this kind of information helps students fill in missing information and clarify misunderstandings.

Effective feedback should also provide information about how close students come to meeting the criterion and details about what they need to do to attain the next level of performance (Shirbagi, 2007; Shute, 2008) Teachers can provide elaboration in the form of worked examples, questions, or promptssuch as Whats this problem all about?or as information about the correct answer (Kramarski & Zeichner, 2001; Shute, 2008).

ExampleMrs. Wang is working individually with Sophia, a student struggling with writing a persuasive essay. Sophia is passionate about her views of reducing waste and recycling, yet her current essay comes across as ranting without much information to back up her views. As they work through the essay, Mrs. Wangs feedback commends Sophias enthusiasm for her topic and helps her rewrite the essay as a call to action rather than as a diatribe. At the end of the session, Mrs. Wang says to Sophia, I think our next step is to show readers what first intrigued you to take action. You mention that you saw a video about the amount of waste going to landfills. Perhaps we could find some exact numbers about how much trash we produce. That would help readers understand your passion for creating change.In this way, Mrs. Wang gives specific and helpful feedback to Sophia, and she also guides her student to future steps that are needed.

As in many other areas of life, timing is everything (or at least important) when giving feedback. Recent research indicates that the timing of feedback depends to some extent on the nature of the task and on whether students are high performing or low performing (Shute, 2008). When students are engrossed in figuring out a difficult task, feedback should be delayed; however, when students can use feedback to complete a task, immediacy helps. Providing immediate feedback can encourage students to practice, and it helps them make connections between what they do and the results they achieve. Delaying feedback may encourage development of cognitive and metacognitive processing for high-performing students, yet it may cause frustration for struggling and less-motivated students (Clariana & Koul, 2006; Shute, 2008). Further, some studies indicate that students may benefit from delayed feedback when they are learning concepts and from immediate feedback when they are acquiring procedural skills (Franzke, Kintsch, Caccamise, Johnson, & Dooley, 2005; Mathan & Koedinger, 2002; Shute, 2008).

ExampleZach, a 3rd grader, is working on his multiplication facts. His teacher provides multiple activities that are fun and motivating and that give Zach timely feedback on his progress. Several times during the week, Zach is given 15 minutes to perform multiplication problems via computer games, board games, or flash cards. Each session gives him immediate feedback on whether his answers are correct (and if he is not, the correct answer is provided). At the end of the week, Zach takes a timed quiz. His teacher grades the quiz during lunch and then returns it to Zach so he can record the time and score on a chart he has been keeping. This timely feedback and tracking experience help Zach see how he is progressing in his attempt to master this particular skill.

Feedback should address the knowledge that students are supposed to learn and provide information that helps them know what needs to be done to improve their performance. Obviously, feedback shouldnt be personal (Youre smart), but, rather, it should address performance on a task and provide specific guidance for improvement (Your response lacks details and includes some inaccurate information. Check the facts about this event, and add details to describe the reasons the event occurred.).

One approach to providing criterion-referenced feedback is to use a rubric. A rubric is a scoring guide that describes levels of performance for a particular skill or concept. The number of levels included in a rubric can vary, but there should be at least one level beyond the level designated as acceptable or proficient performance. Rubrics that relate to information-type knowledge (vocabulary terms, facts, details, generalizations, principles, concepts) focus on the extent of understanding of the information. They might include criteria related to the level of detail students know or the completeness and accuracy of understanding.

Rubrics for skill- or process-type knowledge (adding fractions, reading, writing) focus on whether students can perform the skill or process without error and with fluency. Teachers should provide examples of work at each level of performance to help students better understand what high-quality work looks like. Figure 1.3 provides examples of general rubrics for information and skills/processes. Teachers can adapt these rubrics for specific content, skills, and processes. For more information about developing rubrics, seeClassroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it RightUsing it Well(Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis, 2006).

ExampleMrs. McWherter, a 6th grade language arts teacher, is working with her students on writing biographies. She and Mr. Thompson, the social studies teacher, combine efforts as their students learn about heroes of the American Revolution. Students are supposed to not only research a hero or of their choice but also use what they learn to write a biography of that person. In Mrs. McWherters class, students go through the criteria of what constitutes an informative and engaging biography. In Mr. Thompsons class, students go through the process of gathering information about an appropriate hero. In this way, students use rubrics pertaining to both procedural and declarative knowledge, which helps them address all components of the project.

Rubric for Information-Type Knowledge

The student has a complete and detailed understanding of the information important to the topic.

The student has a complete understanding of the information important to the topic but not in great detail.

The student has an incomplete understanding of the topic and/or misconceptions about some of the information.

The student understands very little about the topic or has misconceptions about most of the information.

No judgment can be made about the students understanding of the topic.

Rubric for Processes and Skills-Type Knowledge

The student can perform the skill or process important to the topic with no significant errors and with fluency. In addition, the student understands the key features of the process.

The student can perform the skill or process important to the topic without making significant errors.

The student makes some significant errors when performing the skill or process important to the topic but still accomplishes a rough approximation of the skill or process.

The student makes so many errors in performing the skill or process important to the topic that he or she cannot actually perform the skill or process.

No judgment can be made about the students ability to perform the skill or process.

Students can provide some of their own feedback and provide feedback to peers. Providing students with opportunities to reflect on their own performance and exchange feedback with peers can help them become lifelong learners (Glaser & Brunstein, 2007; Mooney et al., 2005). It is important to remember, however, that the purpose of peer feedback is for students to clarify for one another what was correct or incorrect about their responses. Students should not give one another grades or scores. Rather, they should serve as reviewers who help determine what might be lacking in their performance.

Teachers can involve students in the feedback process by asking them to keep track of their performance as learning occurs during a unit or course. For example, students might graph their progress or write weekly journal entries (or learning blogs) that describe what theyve learned and how well theyve learned it. If students have not had much experience engaging in the feedback process, they will be more successful if you provide them with templates or protocols that structure their feedback and model the process, as in the example that follows.

ExampleMr. Carson is working with his 2nd grade students as they learn to write biographies. He wishes to begin incorporating a self- and peer-feedback component to his students writing cycle. He begins by having a discussion about what type of feedback is helpful and feels rewarding versus the type of feedback that isnt very helpful or even feels discouragi

Giving Effective Feedback

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Part of The Leadership Excellence Series. This module provides suggestions for offering feedback to others on their performance. Includes a script and a PowerPoint presentation.

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Kroger Feedback Survey Guide

Kroger, the retail chain, values feedback from its customers. Therefore, if you are a Kroger customer, you are offered a chance to give feedback about your shopping experience. You actually get to give the feedback by taking part in the Kroger customer satisfaction survey which is also known as the Kroger feedback survey. At its core, the Kroger feedback survey is made up of a series of questions that you, as a Kroger customer, are expected to answer. You answer the questions on the basis of your recent Kroger shopping experience. Through the feedback received from the customers who take part in the survey, the Kroger management team is able to identify areas where things are going well. They are also able to identify areas where improvements need to be made.

Why you need to take part in the Kroger feedback survey

There are 2 key reasons for you to take part in the Kroger feedback survey.

Firstly, Kroger feedback survey participants are entered into monthly sweepstakes draws. In those draws, some lucky participants get to win grand prizes of $5,000. The prizes are awarded in the form of Kroger gift cards. This means that by sparing a few minutes to complete the Kroger feedback survey, you could position yourself to win a $5,000 gift card. Others get to win $100 Kroger gift cards. $100 is still appreciable, especially if all you have to do to earn it is answer a few questions about your shopping experiences.

Secondly, by participating in the Kroger feedback survey, you get a chance to tell the Kroger management team how you, as a customer, would want to be served. You get a chance to tell the people who manage Kroger stores about your shopping experience, and about areas where you think improvements can be made. This too is important, especially if youd want to be served better in the future.

Eligibility for you to take part in the Kroger feedback survey

To be eligible to take part in the Kroger feedback survey, you just need to have shopped at Kroger in the last one week (7days). You need to have the Kroger receipt and the receipt needs to be one with a survey invitation. In the survey invitation, you will find an entry code. That is a code you will have to enter at the Kroger feedback site, in order to proceed with the survey.

The steps you need to follow, while participating in the Kroger feedback survey

To participate in the Kroger feedback survey, you (obviously) start by going to the survey site: m. So you enter Krogerfeedback.com into your browser. Your browser then loads that site.

Once you are on the Kroger feedback site at (Krogerfeedback.com), you enter some details from your Kroger receipt: namely the date and time on the receipt, as well as the entry ID indicated on the receipt. Then you click on the Start button, in order to get the survey going.

You answer all the survey questions, and at the end of the exercise (which shouldnt take more than a few minutes) you are entered into a sweepstake. That is the Kroger feedback survey sweepstake: where you could win a $5,000 Kroger gift card (grand prize), or a $100 Kroger gift card (first prize).

Feedback Genius Launches for Amazon UK and European Marketplaces

Tools and services for Amazon sellers

Handle challenges of cross-border trade

Automate pricing and track competitors

Amazon feedback solicitation toolFeedback Geniusis now available for sellers using Amazon UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – in addition to , Mexico and Canada.

Seller Labs co-founder Paul Johnson wasinterviewed in June 2015about Feedback Genius and the companys other tools.

Request for Customer Feedback

To Help You Streamline Your Business

OBJECT: REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK Dear [CONTACT NAME], Now that you have had a chance to evaluate our [PRODUCT], we would like to hear from you! The total satisfaction of our customers, even after their purchase, is extremely important to us. Wont you take a moment to fill out the enclosed questionnaire? [NAME OF YOUR COMPANY] knows that it is our customers who make our business. We therefore want to make sure that the purchase of a [PRODUCT] is a satisfying experience for all. We greatly appreciate your response to this quest

Request for Pickup of Repaired Merchandise

Second Request for Renewal of Service Agreement

Response to Request for Service on Expired Warranty

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Teaching Strategies The Essentials of Giving Feedback

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We are dedicated to providing you with a comprehensive collection of relevant and up-to-date K-12 education news and editorials. For teachers, by teachers.

Print This PageTeaching Strategies: The Essentials of Giving FeedbackBy:Jordan CatapanoJordan Catapano

As an English teacher, I spend hours each day grading student work. I realized a while back that theres actually twoteaching strategiesI could use to grade: The quick way or the long way. The quick way is to read through the students writing and assign a grade to it immediately. The long way is to read through the students writing, pour over the details of their ideas and their articulation, providetargeted feedbackin writing, and then assign a grade carefully based on arubricor other set of prescribed criteria.

I have calculated that grading the quick way would take me less than a quarter of the time that I spend on the longer method. But I firmly believe that part of my job as an educator is to make sure I have a solid pulse on the production and quality of my students work, and that I offer feedback to them so they can continually improve.

But heres the problem: Is it worth the time? If we devote so much time to giving feedback to students in any subject, does it actually deliver any kind of value to their learning? We have to use distinctto make sure that were aware of the types of feedback that were giving and that we are training our students to make the most of our advice.

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If we arbitrarily approach grading an assignment, we might be providing the wrong kind of feedback that fails to benefit students in the way we imagine.  Think about the two general forms of feedback we might give: Summative and formative.

Summative feedbackis the kind of feedback given to a piece of work that is considered an end. This might normally come at the end of a unit, end of a semester, or end of the year. Summative feedback generally justifies a grade or compares performance to standards. If a student receives a B, for example, then the feedback is designed to provide information related to the forming of that grade. Areas students performed well in are pointed out. Areas of weakness are commented on. However, the feedback is mostly informative by nature, and not designed to provide students with Next time you should kinds of formative suggestions. It is more of a report than a tool.

Formative feedbacksobjective is to point out areas of weakness or strength,andto encourage a focus on future improvement. The feedback shows students important areas to learn from and treats the feedback as a tool that should be utilized on students next opportunity.

The danger arises when we provide summative feedback on formative work. The question to ask ourselves when providing feedback is, What do I expect students to do with this information I give them? If the answer is To see why they got that grade, then you want to give summative feedback. If the answer is So they can improve for next time, then formative feedback is required.

Much of the feedback I give students comes in the form of comments in the margins of their writing. But there are many ways we can give feedback to students. Here are a few pros and cons to the most common ways we consider giving feedback.

Margin Comments.We often squeeze feedback into the margins of student work. This can be perfect for targeting specific portions of their work. It can also limit what we say if theres very little room for anything to be written down. Also, students might not necessarily keep physical copies of work for as long as might benefit them and once its gone, its gone.

Grades and Grade Books.Grades themselves are a form of feedback; theyre a direct statement on how well students achieved a degree of mastery in relation to a standard. But how clear are the messages grades give? A letter, by itself, doesnt say much unless students have been clearly trained to identify what they mean. Also, grades might be the only thing parents see or students keep. If you have an electronic grade book, consider what features might be useful for communicating more about the assignment and outcomes.

Conferences.Instead of relying on written comments, sometimes thorough, personalized feedback can best be provided in a conference setting. Here, you and another student sit together, review their work, and have a conversation about the outcome. This stands the chance at being much more thorough than other feedback forms, but how much students actually remember may vary. Plus, this takes lots of time to give to an entire class.

Rubrics/Standards.Rubrics are the classic grading tool for showing students the range of standards and where exactly their work falls on the scale. Rubrics can be excellent for making sure students are graded on an identical standard and for communicating those standards, but they can lack personalized, specific information that can help individual students.

Public Examples.Sometimes its worth it to hold up a piece of student work and tell the class its awesome. But teachers can also create generic examples not ones that any student wrote and comment on them. Then students can compare the public example to their own work and ascertain for themselves how well they believe they did.

While were talking about feedback, consider what tools might be available for providing digital feedback. Its a shame if we spend hours producing feedback only to have it lost by students. But if you have a digital forum for communicating back to students, then that feedback could be permanently stored and accessed for future reference.

But heres the really important part. So far weve only talked about what the teacher does. Thats secondary. Whats more important is how students respond to the feedback they receive.

To make sure students respond in the best way possible, there are two critical elements that we must train our students on: Reflection and goal-setting. And we must give them time in class to do them.

Student Reflection.First, students must be given time in class to review the feedback they receive. Encourage students to review their own work in addition to looking at the feedback provided. Encourage students to look at the grade, the rubric, and the standards all together so they get a clear sense themselves of how the performed. It may be helpful to have students respond to the feedback by writing down self-perceived areas of strength or weakness, or even composing a short paragraph where they self-assess their overall performance. Perhaps even provide students an opportunity to look at other previous assignments as well so they get a more comprehensive view of their progress.

Student Goal-setting.On formative work, it is essential that students take the feedback they receive and leverage it for their improvement. In addition to just reflection, have the students each set a small, reasonable goal for their next opportunity. This will allow students to respond to their feedback by identifying one particular area they would like to incrementally improve on for next time. After a years worth of doing this, they will doubtlessly understand their work and progress better. And once they receive feedback on their next assignment, part of their reflection could be on how well they performed on their goal area, too.

Effective feedback does not mean that we comment on every single aspect of their work. Trying to provide too much feedback takes too much time for teachers and overwhelms students. Instead, here are a few simple tricks to make feedback more effective:

Always find at least one positive thing to say about a students work.

Focus on just one to three key areas of performance to help you and students stay focused on the most significant aspects.

Longer and fewer pieces of feedback are better than shorter and more.

Dont just point out weaknesses, but give Do this instead kinds of formative advice.

Return feedback as quickly as possible timeliness better ensures students remember doing their work and the feedback makes more sense.

Always offer an opportunity to speak directly with students if they have any further questions about their work. Or invite them to speak with you with a friendly little See Me.

Help Them to Accept Feedback in the Long Term

Learning how to effectively use feedback to better oneself is a critical, lifelong skill. When we take the time to provide appropriate feedback and train students to regularly meditate on it, then students learn how to improve themselves in much more than just your class.

As you move forward with your year, make sure to regularly consider what kind of feedback is necessary, what forms your feedback might come in, and how you might allot class time to train students how to use it. After all, if students are spending hours on homework and youre spending hours grading it, somebody better learn something, right?

What do you do to make sure feedback is maximized in your classroom? Tell us your tricks in the comments below!

Jordan Catapano is a high school English teacher in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated and head of his schools Instructional Development Committee, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and has experience as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website.

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Friday Feedback

Great leaders understand the pulse of their people. Our weekly recaps give you real-time insights; helping you removing roadblocks to success. Better data, better decision-making.

Stop guessing about what you need to improve, just ask instead. People are more honest behind a screen, use those insights to kickstart important in-person conversations.

When you remove roadblocks and help people do their best work, you will build a great place to work (thats also productive too). We make this easy – no extra meetings required.

According to research, your best employees leave because they dont feel recognized for their work. We make recognition easy for your entire team. You get better insights into whats going on.

Every week, your team has the opportunity to recognize peers for a job well-done (this is part of weekly status updates). Over time, you can easily see whos making a difference and winning the respect of their peers.

Employee activity rolls-up under an employee profile and brings recognition, check-ins, and team leader comments in a single view. Its like if an employee file created itself.

When team data is easy to access, it makes 1-1 meetings and quarterly reviews much easier (and less prone to recency bias). Stop relying on observation alone, complement it with real data.

Hows everyone doing over time? Stop relying on observation, start complementing your gut with real data from your team.

If you lead an organization, quickly visualize and segment data for any team. View scorecards to understand how a team leader compares to the rest of the organization.

The weekly updates are the core, but executives can send anonyous surveys (monthly/quarterly) and get the most honest feedback to guide your company strategy.

Capture a full view of the organization by blending tactical insights (weekly check-ins) and strategic (anonymous) feedback together.

See how Shani Podl, Vice President at a manufacturing company uses Friday Feedback to encourage feedback and recognition inside her company.

Read how Chris Hexton, the CEO of a fast-growing technology company uses Friday Feedback to make decisions faster and with more insight.

Discover how Blake Wittman, the CEO of a recruiting firm uses Friday Feedback to proactively identify how things are going inside his company.

Learn how Leona Olney, the Program Manager at a nonprofit in Ontario uses check-ins to better understand whats going on with her team.

See how Justin Harrison, a technical director at a defense firm uses Friday Feedback to eliminate weekly retrospective meetings.

Employees seeing that they were being listened to and actions taken helped to increase satisfaction, engagement and ultimately productivity. The culture in the business improved dramatically.