Saturday, December 30, 2017

Feedback and Formative Assessment #MTBoS12Days

Yesterday's post about effective feedback definitely started my wheels going...

Feedback & Exit Tickets

After reading the Educational Leadership article yesterday regarding effective feedback, I started Googling various things to see what I could find that might help me solidify my thinking and I found a couple of articles that really made me pause...

One of the first links I found was this article on Deep vs Impression Feedback and a few things really hit me in the first few paragraphs... learners rarely take the time to read comments, teachers rarely give time to read the comments (or act on them), and the same comments tend to show up time after time, indicating that the feedback isn't doing a good job of moving learning forward. These are not earth-shattering and most teachers can attest to the truth in these statements, but for some reason it hit me pretty hard, especially my role in giving time to read and act on the feedback.  I obviously feel that the feedback is worthwhile or I wouldn't spend time writing on each student paper, but do I demonstrate to the students that I feel that feedback is worth *THEIR* time as well?

One of my goals with effective feedback needs to be developing *descriptive and actionable* feedback for students.  In order for increased learning to take place, time should be provided for students to take action.  In my classroom, my students do quick checks several times a week, which I have regarded as a positive thing because I can get a snapshot of how well the students understand the concept.  However, once I write feedback on their QC, I don't ask them to *do* anything with it.  What if I asked them to turn over the QC and do something actionable on the back?  Either reflect on their errors or rework the problem or make up a similar problem and solve it?  This has the potential to be really annoying on my part, handling the same papers over and over, but it's still a thought worth pondering.  How could I develop an actionable process that isn't time consuming?  I've worked really hard this year to find a good balance, so I don't want to disrupt that too much, and I know from experience that if something is too unwieldy, I won't follow through, so how can I manage this process well?

Further in the article are some specific strategies for Deep Feedback vs Impression Feedback.  I really liked the "Met / Not Yet / I noticed" strategy and the "Traffic Lights" strategy for feedback.  I've used Traffic Lights for students to self-assess, but I've never given feedback or assessed students using this strategy.  With Traffic Lights, I like that the suggestion was for students to work together to determine why something was rated as Red, Yellow, Green, which brings up the "detective work" that Wiliam mentioned in the EL article.  I need to dig into these strategies a bit more and see how it might work in my classroom.

Continuing on my Google search led me to Mathy McMatherson's blog post on Why I Switched to Exit Tickets.  This blog post is probably the thing that made me ponder and reflect the most over the past 24 hours.  I haven't been really pleased with how homework (or lack thereof) is working in Geometry.  I try to give a lot of practice throughout the class period, but one struggle there is that a lot of practice time in class is collaborative and not individual.  I need to figure out a better way to really dig into what my students know after a lesson individually.  I have gotten away from exit tickets this year and I'm not happy with that either, but it seems like I often run out of time to do all that I want to do. 

From Mathy's post:
I realized that these few homework problems were really the only thing I valued about the day-to-day implementation of homework in my classroom – so why wasn’t I doing it every day and why was I letting it be optional? This was one of my motivations for switching to exit tickets – take those first few problems from a homework assignment, make it an exit ticket, and make every student do it in class in front of me. Then, if students struggle with it, put problems like this on the bellwork tomorrow. Either way, I’m forcing every student to try these problems and learn how to do them.
I definitely agree with this!  Why not pick out a couple of problems for students to work RIGHT AWAY for quick feedback?  It would help inform my teaching on a regular basis, allow for student feedback, and utilize that time at the end of class in a better manner.  This is similar to how my quick checks currently work, but QCs are normally the following day and that's a whole other frustration because absent students don't have a clue what to do.   The key element to this plan is that it is actionable.  When I respond to the exit ticket, then students can immediately use that feedback on the next day's warmup, which also ties in to the 'Curve of Forgetting'.

I'm not quite where I want to be yet, but I am starting to formulate a plan for this upcoming semester :)

What are your thoughts?

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