Giving Feedback

What is Feedback?

W. Fred Miser says, “Feedback is an objective description of a student’s performance intended to guide future performance.  Unlike evaluation, which judges performance, feedback is the process of helping our students assess their performance, identify areas where they are right on target and provide them tips on what they can do in the future to improve in areas that need correcting.”

Grant Wiggins  says, “Feedback is not about praise or blame, approval or disapproval.  That’s what evaluation is – placing value.  Feedback is value-neutral.  It describes what you did and did not do.”

“Effective feedback, however, shows where we are in relationship to the objectives and what we need to do to get there. "

“It helps our students see the assignments and tasks we give them as opportunities to learn and grow rather than as assaults on their self-concept. "

“And, effective feedback allows us to tap into a powerful means of not only helping students learn, but helping them get better at learning.”

~ Robyn R. Jackson

For those of use who are evaluated on rubrics like C. Danielson's, giving student's effective and meaningful oral and written feedback is huge. It becomes part of how you use formative assessments during a lesson and how you determine if students "Got it" or not. 

I think its important to remember what good feedback looks like:

  • The more delay that occurs in giving feedback, the less improvement there is in achievement.
  • As often as possible, for all major assignments

  • What students are doing that is correct
  • What students are doing that is not correct
  • Choose areas of feedback based on those that relate to major learning goals and essential elements of the assignment
  • Should be encouraging and help students realize that effort on their part results in more learning 

Specific to a Criterion
  • Precise language on what to do to  improve
  • Reference where a student stands in relation to a specific learning target/goal
  • Also specific to the learning at hand
  • Based on personal observations

Focused on the product/behavior – not on the student

  • Did the student understand the feedback? 
  • Opportunities are provided to modify assignments, products, etc. based on the feedback
  • What is my follow up plan to monitor and assist the student in these areas?
I think of how I give feedback during a Wilson lesson, "I heard you read red correctly. How might you fix this word?" To shift the thinking back on the student to make the correction. This means I'm only focusing on one thing at a time. Not everything that needs to be fixed. I find its hard in guided reading, when the student stumbles over several words--deciding which ones to give and which ones to have them fix on their own. It's finding that balance and shifting the cognitive load from me to the student. That way the next time they see the word or get stuck they can independently use the strategy.  It's hard to find that balance and demonstrate that you are using feedback as a formative assessment. But that's what it takes for students to self-monitor. Some thoughts to add to your daily practice. Have a great week.


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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