‘Marking’ plays a central role in teachers work. Marking includes grading of a student’s achievement or giving feedback on student’s learning. The school culture should focus on providing feedback on students learning rather than assigning them grades. Hattie and Clarke(2019) mentioned in their book ‘Visible Learning Feedback’ that grades encourage students to develop ego-related mindsets rather than task-related mindsets.
Grading should not be confused with feedback. A good feedback offers guidance on how work can be improved. The ‘comment only feedback’ should provide specific information on ‘where to next’ or ‘how to improve this work’. Feedback fills the gap between what is understood and what is aimed to be understood. Feedback is a vehicle that takes students from where they are at present to where they should be. For feedback to be effective, it should include comments on effort and strategy. A good feedback helps students create an action plan required to achieve their goals.
The culture in the classroom and the teaching/learning strategies used, decide the impact of the feedback received or understood.
Some strategies that can be used to give feedback are :
1. SIR (Strengths, Improvements and Response).
Start the feedback by offering positive and exact praise for a specific skill or learning/progress that has been demonstrated.
Examples of the sentence starters that can be used to identify strengths are :
Provide specific and manageable guidance by setting targets or asking questions linked to success criteria. Have clear expectations of what is expected in response from students.
Example of the sentences that can be used to identify improvements (dependent on the learning outcomes) :
Learners respond to the feedback and creates an action plan to close the learning gap.
Examples of the sentence starters that can be used by students to respond to the feedback are :
2. D.I.R.T. (Dedicated / Directed Improvement and Reflection Time)
Feedback should be hardwork for students. DIRT strategy saves teacher’s marking time and transfers the responsibility to work towards excellence to students. In this strategy, Students work on draft 1 and check it carefully before handing in. A verbal feedback is given to students or it is peer assessed to identify improvements. Student responds to the feedback and identify improvements. The work is reassessed and moves closer to excellence. The cycle is repeated until the target work is achieved.
There are a number of feedback methods that can be used with D.I.R.T., such as –
2.1 Feedback grid : A feedback rubric is provided to students at the beginning of the assessment. Teacher highlights the criteria’s met and the areas of improvements. Students read the feedback rubric and create and action plan for improvements.
2.2 Marking codes : The teacher gives a code from the pre-defined set of codes related to targets to be achieved and areas of improvement. Student identifies the code and create an action plan for improvements.
2.3 Peer assessment : Students swap their work with peer. Teacher discusses the feedback or provides the success criteria and provides sentence starters. Peers provide specific comments, students make amendments and set targets for themselves to improve the work
2.4 Whole-class feedback : Teacher observes student’s work throughout the lesson and provides a feedback verbally or via comments on board. Students respond to the feedback.
2.5 Annotations in the work : Teacher writes basic annotations like ‘Spellings’, ‘Reason’, ‘Identify’ for areas of improvement and uses them throughout the assessment piece. Students self-assess and improve the work.
2.6 Sign/Colour coding : Teacher gives a sign or colour code for areas of improvement and uses them throughout the assessment piece. Students self-assess and improve the work.
2.1 Assessment Rubrics
Research suggests that providing exemplars and assessment rubrics supports learning by closing the gap between the actual and the desired state. Rubrics can be used as. an effective tool in peer / group feedback or self-marking
The image below shows the assessment rubric I plan to use with my students this year. Tips to create an assessment rubric :
- The expectation for the target grade should be clearly described.
- In rows, I have the target grades. As I plan to keep the feedback holistic rather than giving the numbers, marks or pass, merit, distinction; I have used first draft, emerging, accomplished and exemplary.
- In column 1, I have the criteria against which the work will be assessed.
- The body of the table provides clear instructions on what the work at that level will look like and how the work can be improved to achieve the next higher criteria.
This is the feedback meter skill card I will be using for peer assessment.