There is no simple answer to planning great feedback that allows your students to thrive. It is as complex as they are. I am at pains to point out that what I am about to outline is far from a complete set of ideas, but the following list may act as focusing lens to help sharpen what you see as important for the lesson you are currently planning. The culture of the classroom and the institution’s, your and your students’ perceptions are very much front and centre in the realms of feedback, so we will start with that.
Developing a culture where feedback is valued, wanted and well received?
What routines, systems and procedures do you use to ensure that ‘threat’ is reduced and feedback will not be interpreted as a personal affront?
What have you done to help students understand that feedback is part of the learning process?
Do you use self and peer assessment strategies to develop student error detection and self-regulation?
How do you value honest student responses so that errors are readily offered?
6 steps to planning receiving feedback from students.
Step 1 - Remind yourself of the lon learning intentions?
What was important last lesson?
What is important in this lesson?
What will be important next lesson?
What will be important at the end of the academic year?
Is this a threshold concept?
Step 2 - Where is the best place to focus the assessment?
Are you working on a long-term outcome that brings together many ideas and involves more complex thinking?
Are you working on short-term outcomes so repeating the information is key to longer-term learning?
What are the misconceptions, known difficulties and common errors associated with this concept or this task?
Step 3 - What exactly are you looking for?
How important is the idea? Is it a threshold concept? A known concept? A Long term learning intention?
How might student knowledge change over time or over the teaching sequence?
How will you know if the students are getting to grips with this idea? How might this change as they become more confident or understand it better?
Are you looking to see if they understand the idea, if they know the idea or that they can apply the idea?
Step 4 - Constructively align tasks and assessments.
Are you interested in them developing or constructing meaning of the idea or assessing if this has been learned?
Is there any chance for means end thinking or guess work?
Step 5 - Design assessments that you can trust.
Have I assessed the big idea more than once?
How big is the decision I will make based upon this information?
How much trust is necessary?
Do I trust that they know it? Or have they just worked it out from the clues in the assessment?
Step 6 - Make the information manageable.
When do I need this information? Can it wait for in between lessons to be processed and used?
Will sampling the class suffice?
Does having a valid assessment matter at this point in time?
How does the gathering of information fit with the flow of planned activities/ learning or the lesson?
Can a computer do the compilation of the evidence for me?
8 steps to giving students feedback.
Step 1 - Establishing the purpose of the feedback.
Step 2 - Consider the form of feedback (or if more Instruction is needed?)
Do students know enough for the feedback to be helpful?
Are the tasks constructively aligned enough for task level feedback to be helpful?
Are answer sheets, guide sheets or rubrics needed?
Will marking codes be a useful time saver?
Step 3 - Establish a context for feedback.
How does the teaching sequence support the current learning?
What prior knowledge do they need to be able to act on the feedback given?
Are the learning intentions shared, agreed or owned by the students?
How can you make the goals clear to the students?
Is exemplar work used to set the direction and quality of the student work?
Is a rubric established early in the sequence of producing the work?
Is there a way of making the feedback something that is sought by the students rather than offered by the teacher?
Step 4 - Consider the timing of the feedback.
Is the potential feedback needed for this task or concept best if provided immediately during the activity, or might some delay be beneficial?
Is the task best defined as a construct, demonstrate or assessment task?
How would testing and tests be structured in this topic to aid long term retention?
Step 5 - Establish the correctness, or not, of the student learning?
What are the signs, evidence and clues that this piece of work is on the right track?
Is there a hinge point opportunity?
Is the hinge point activity robust enough to exposure misunderstandings and gaps in understanding?
Step 6 - Consider how the feedback will induce thinking.
How does the feedback narrow down the range of potential answers or solutions?
Does the feedback avoid leading the student to use a means end or a ‘trial and error’ approach?
What are the purposes of your planned questions? Are they to assess, to induce thinking or a convoluted form of social control?
Is there an opportunity for students to ask high quality questions?
Step 7 - Consider how the feedback develops self-regulation.
Is student knowledge secure enough to add potential extraneous cognitive load?
What is the balance between securing knowledge and developing self-regulation?
Is there a choice of meaningful tasks to follow formative assessment?
Step 8 - Set targets.
What might you have to re-teach? How will you represent the ideas differently?
What are the long-term goals for students with this concept?
Is there any opportunity for “feed-forward” between tasks?
Do some targets take precedence over other?