When I think back to my years in high school, I remember essays, tests, pop quizzes, and the occasional assignment. Aside from
the projects and labs that we did in Physics and Chemistry, rarely was I asked to design my own project, reflect on how I was learning or being assessed, and never did I ever conference with a teacher about my learning. Last year, I worked through a Project-Based Learning unit where I gave constant feedback daily and students created questions, delved into subjects of their own choice, and made connections to the curriculum. In the end, I handed them a rubric with a grade and some comments on it. How were they supposed to learn from a piece of paper? It was during this unit, where I realized that I needed to re-evaluate how I give and more importantly, use feedback.
In the process of Design Thinking (See @lmcbeth’s post here), the empathizing piece is so important. How do I design a project that pushes 21st-century students to engage their interests and work to their own potential? Then, how do I create a system of feedback that is both constructive and immediate with an assessment process that allows for student reflection and learning? Ideally, learning FROM the rubrics, comments and feedback I provide on a continual basis.
My goal is to devise a feedback process that is more immediate, can be applied to any type of assessment, and is clearly visible along the way. Ideally, I’d like to redesign my classroom as well – with feedback and assessment in mind.
Most recently, I have reached out to both @ddoucet and my Director in Teaching and Learning (Dave Krocker) to discuss making rubrics and post-assessment feedback more effective. From these conversations, my co-teacher and I redesigned the rubric (A great post on how to build a more meaningful rubric on Edutopia), asked students to submit self-reflections based on where they sat – Below, At, or Above standard. The key here was asking students ‘Why?”. Some responses…
After this, we conferenced with the students regarding their rubric and their self-reflection – this process often resulted with an ‘Ah ha’ moment for some of the students. It was clear to both myself and them that there is a need for more instances of feedback throughout the process – this is something that I need to focus on and has been an area of growth for me for quite awhile now. Somehow, I also want to redesign my space both in real life and online to better my feedback and increase student learning. I’m certainly on my way, but much more growth lies ahead.
Throughout our last F2F, applying the Design model to this problem brought to light many new insights and ideas. The numerous conversations fueled a new appreciation for what assessment is really supposed to look like. A big thank you to @ksolowey, @gnichols, @lmcbeth, & @ddoucet along with many others in the Cohort 21 group who gave me great feedback and ideas to move forward with.
At the end of the day, great assessments are only the starting point. What they do with their feedback is where true learning and growth really happens.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on feedback and assessment. What are other techniques that you use to make sure feedback is actually used to enhance learning? How do you make it consistent and timely?