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Formative Feedback A central purpose of assessment in the new Junior Cycle is to support learning. Quality feedback is an essential element of this. This.

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Presentation on theme: "Formative Feedback A central purpose of assessment in the new Junior Cycle is to support learning. Quality feedback is an essential element of this. This."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formative Feedback A central purpose of assessment in the new Junior Cycle is to support learning. Quality feedback is an essential element of this. This workshop focuses on providing students with formative feedback to help them take the next steps in their learning. It examines the principles underpinning effective feedback and will enable you to make your ongoing feedback more informative and beneficial to students.

2 Learning intentions To know what is meant by high quality formative feedback To know the steps needed to provide high quality formative feedback in your classroom To understand how formative feedback can impact on students’ learning For this session, the learning intentions are: to know what is meant by high quality formative feedback to know the steps needed to provide high quality formative feedback in your classroom to understand how formative feedback can impact on students’ learning.

3 Exploring effective feedback
Activity 1a Exploring effective feedback To begin today’s session, I’d like you all to get into groups of three. (Pass out Activity sheet 1: ‘Feedback statements’) Each group has a sheet containing a selection of feedback statements. Read through these and then decide which are effective and which are not. Record your decisions on the sheet by placing an ‘E’ in each box containing an effective feedback statement. (Allow 5 minutes for groups to make their choices) Now that you are all finished, which statements did you feel were effective, quality feedback? Which were not? Why? (Allow time for discussion and explanations for their choices)

4 What do we mean by formative feedback?
‘Feedback to any student should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other students.’ Inside the Black Box, Black & Wiliam, 1998 Based on this activity, what have you identified as the characteristics of quality feedback? (Allow discussion, then show quotation) This is a description of formative feedback from Black & Wiliam. How does it fit with your own thinking? What makes feedback formative?

5 Characteristics of formative feedback
Feedback should provide: evidence on where they are now the desired goal According to the quotation, what defines feedback as formative is the presence of comments on quality and advice on how to improve. That being the case, these are the three elements that all formative feedback should contain: evidence on where the student is now (this is their success as it relates to the agreed features of quality, which we discussed in an earlier workshop) a definition of the desired goal practical strategies to close the gap Note that it’s this advice on how to improve that is critical. To be truly formative, the feedback must inform the next steps in the learning process. To suggest ‘work harder’ isn’t enough. Formative feedback needs to point them towards ways to realise the improvement and reach the goal. some understanding of how to close the gap

6 Timing of formative feedback
Feedback during the learning Allow time for improvement Too often the feedback given is too little, too late, or too vague. If the feedback includes the three elements just discussed, then the risk of our feedback being vague is avoided. But what about the timing? When should we be offering the feedback? Ideally, formative feedback should take place during the learning. Feedback can be given as students work on a task or assignment. Once they’ve submitted their work, that doesn’t mean the learning has to end there. Instead, you can extend the learning process by offering feedback and allowing time for improvements to be made (give your feedback and let them go away, try to follow the advice, and improve the work). This allows the students to take the feedback on board and immediately make efforts to close the gap and realise the improvement. This is more effective and productive for the learning experience of the student than end-of-task feedback measures, which require students to remember the feedback and apply your recommended strategies to a future task.

7 Activity 1b Formative statements
For this activity, please get back into your groups and look again at the statements on Activity sheet 1. (Pass out a copy of Activity sheet 2: ‘’The sorting sheet’) Read through these again, but this time I’d like everyone to think about the three characteristics of formative feedback which we just reviewed, and identify which statements on the sheet qualify as formative. Then record these on the sheet using an ‘F’. Alternatively, you could highlight those you feel are formative. (Allow 5 minutes for groups to make their choices) Now that you are all finished, which statements did you all feel were formative? Why? What about those statements that you previously labelled as effective? Do you see a match between these and those you labelled as formative? Are there any that you originally indicated as effective that you now want to re-evaluate? (Allow time for discussion and explanations for their choices, then provide them with the correct answers, which are marked on Activity sheet 3: ‘Facilitator’s statement sheet’)

8 Why is formative feedback important?
Focuses on improvement De-emphasises competition Improves motivation and learning ambition Now let’s talk about why formative feedback is so important. Let’s start by asking you some questions: Who marks/grades every piece of work/activity their students produce? What’s the ratio of marked activities to unmarked activities? 80/20? 50/50? 25/75? I ask because many of us put a lot of time into marking students’ work, and this is useful for proving the learning. But the question is: Does a mark help the student? Research says the answer is NO. For example, telling a student that they scored 4 out of 10 tells them that they are not achieving, but it says nothing about how to do better. In addition, overemphasis on, and overuse of, grades and marks can create a competitive culture in your classroom. Research indicates that this leads to high achievers becoming complacent and low achievers becoming demotivated. Carol Dweck’s work on students’ motivations found that feedback in the form of gold stars, grades, or place-in-class ranking focuses students on performance rather than their learning. As a result, students actively avoid risk and extending themselves during new learning in order to ensure they secure the reward.

9 Types of feedback Oral feedback During the lesson/activity
Personal and immediate Interactive (two-way) There are two types of feedback that may be given to students: oral and written. Oral feedback is usually given during the lesson and written tends to be given after a task/ homework. Oral feedback can be underestimated because it is less formal, but it can be a very powerful and effective tool. It’s also interactive, allowing students to respond and participate.

10 Effective Oral Feedback
Activity: Student tests a number of household substances with litmus paper. Learning intentions: Plan and conduct a fair test Classify substances Identify common acids and bases You are getting better at carrying out an investigation. Well done! Good girl, you have completed the report very neatly Well done. I see you recorded all your results. How do acids effect litmus paper? Have a look at this slide and try to determine which of these examples represent effective oral feedback? (Allow time for everyone to discuss) The statements ‘You are getting better…’ and ‘Good girl…’ are not formative because they are not focused on the learning intentions. You can still give students statements like this, as they are useful as person-focused encouragers, but they can be distractors in terms of formative feedback and could confuse the rest of the class, who overhear them, as to what is important. On the other hand, the statements ‘Good strategy…’ and ‘Well done…’ represent formative feedback, as they indicate what the student has achieved in terms of their investigation to identify common acids and bases, and they give a prompt that helps direct the student to the next step. When offering oral feedback yourself, remember to relate the feedback to the learning intentions, so that students do not get confused about what it is they are learning to do. Good strategy, you have tested all the substances with the blue litmus paper and recorded your results. Do you think it would help to use the blue litmus paper?

11 Focusing the feedback ‘I recognised things in myself like commenting about the handwriting and spelling, when I should be commenting on the learning intention. It’s been a real revelation to me. I’m aware of it all the time now and when I hear myself starting to say “you’ve left a capital letter out there”, I stop really quickly now and go back to talking about the learning intention.’ Teacher from S. Clarke’s research project Even when we know how to offer feedback correctly, it is difficult to break old habits. This quotation is a comment from a teacher who took part in Shirley Clarke’s research. In it, she reflects on her feedback and how relating it to the learning intention helps her to remain focused on what she wants the students to learn and how she can help them. But there are some other specific strategies we can use to help keep us focused on effective feedback and these will be discussed later.

12 Types of feedback Written Feedback
Tends to be after the task is complete Comments only The second type of formative feedback is written feedback. As I said earlier, written feedback tends to be given after a task/homework. Also, there is a very strong argument for making written feedback comment only, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

13 Learning from feedback
Do you allow time for students to read your comments? Do you allow time for improvements to be made to the work? Can students read/understand your marking comments? As we discussed earlier, formative feedback must focus on and reflect the learning intention, provide explicit information on progress, and offer guidance on how to reach the desired goal. Have a look at these three questions, and think about how you would respond given your current written feedback methods. (Pause to allow time to read) When we discussed the timing of feedback, I explained the importance of bullets 1 and 2. In order for students to benefit from the feedback we offer, we must allow them time to process the comments and then use them to improve that piece of work or the learning for that lesson. But the last bullet here is also extremely important and is something we must consider. Studies show that students often don’t read the comments we write, particularly when they are paired with marks. But it might surprise you to know that when they do read them, students often cannot understand the marks we give or comments we write. How can students process and use the feedback if they don’t understand it in the first place?

14 How do students interpret your feedback?
‘Develop these ideas further…’ - ‘Teachers expect you to know what they mean in comments.’ - ‘It would be good if teachers wrote how you could improve your work more.’ ‘Good work …’ - ‘Good’ doesn’t help much – he’s just saying that it’s not really very good I’d like it if he just told the truth.’ - ‘If I get a ‘good’ , I often don’t know what I’ve done good’ ‘You must try harder…’ - ‘I get ‘try harder’ a lot, but it doesn’t really help me do any better‘ Here are some typical examples of feedback given by teachers. Below each are comments from actual students. In these quotations, we can actually see that students are asking us to be specific about what has been achieved and then give clear advice on how to improve. These feedback statements here, and others like ‘Well Done’ and ‘See to Your Punctuation’, are just too vague to be helpful.

15 A controversial question about marking
Which is most effective in helping students improve? Mark/grade only (e.g. 4/10, B+) Mark/grade and comment Comment only When it comes to the type of marks we offer students, which type do you think is most effective for improving learning? (Allow a few minutes for discussion)

16 Comment-only marking is the best way to help students improve
Groups of students given: Improvement in work Interest in subject Marks/grades only Nil + for high attainers - for middle/low Marks/grades + comments Comments only 30% + for all groups This table shows that written feedback in the form of comments only is actually the most effective method for improving learning. This is because when comments are paired with marks, students tend to ignore the comments because their feelings of achievement or failure have already been reinforced by the mark. In fact, what is the first thing students look at when they receive marks with a comment? (Allow suggestions) And what do you think is the second thing they look at? (Allow suggestions) Well, the truth is that the first thing a student will look at is their mark. The second thing they will look at is their neighbour’s mark. Often, students do not even read the comment. This means that even when we get the comment right (we’ve made it instructive to improve learning), it’s unlikely to be acted upon. The findings you see on this slide, which substantiate this, are from two Israeli studies referred to by Black and Wiliam. But this was also a key finding in the King’s College research and is backed by findings in a range of countries. Note that while it’s not necessary to apply comment-only marking to every piece of work, it’s a strategy that should be built into assessment to improve and benefit the learning process. Students will still need summative marks/grades from time to time, but have we, and our students, become over-reliant upon them? Research findings, Black & Wiliam,1998

17 A suggested strategy for written feedback
Find two successes in the piece of work based on the features of quality Find the part of the work that has most scope for an immediate ‘jump’ (not simply the worst part) Write a short prompt telling the child exactly what to do to this part of their work Provide time for them to read, process and respond to your prompt This slide provides a framework for providing written feedback. This is only one approach and can be used as often as manageable. It can be used alongside other types of assessment, and you should explain it to students before you introduce it as a strategy. First, find two successes. By identifying two successes, you are showing students where they are now — where they have achieved success in relation to the learning. Then identify an area of the work that they can immediately improve. This might not be the ‘worst’ aspect of their work. You should identify an achievable and realistic goal. Next, provide them with a prompt on how to improve. A prompt gives them a practical strategy to close the gap. Finally, remember that students need to be given time to improve. You don’t have to write huge amounts; you can use symbols instead. Examples of structured feedback that you may already be familiar with are ‘two stars and a wish’ or ‘tickled pink and green for go’.

18 Prompts for improvement
A reminder prompt is most suitable for able children ‘Say more about how you feel about this person.’ A scaffold prompt scaffolds the learning for children who need more support than a simple reminder ‘Can you describe how this person is a ‘good friend’?’ ‘Describe something that happened that showed they are a good friend.’ An example prompt can be extremely successful with all children, but especially with average or below average children ‘Choose one of these or your own: “He is a good friend because he never says unkind things about me”, “My friend is a friend because he never tells me lies.”’ Shirley Clarke When it comes to closing the gap between where a student is and where we want them to be in their learning, there are three types of prompts to use with formative feedback that promote improvement. They also help you differentiate your support: reminders scaffolds examples Here is an example of each. Reminders are a low-level supportive prompts, the most basic instruction on how to improve the work/learning. Examples are high-level supportive prompts, the most explicit, instructional and illustrative statements of how to improve. You should select which to use based on your students’ needs.

19 Emma, how might this affect how we breathe?
Reminder prompt Learning intention: To explore the structure and function of different organs and systems - ‘The heart beats faster when we run.’ Emma, how might this affect how we breathe? Here’s another example of a Reminder Prompt, – showing the learning intention, student work, feedback prompt, and re-submission of the work/improvement in learning. This work has more room for improvement but the student has thought about her answer and improved it. ‘When we run our heart beats faster, this pumps blood to our lungs quicker, and we breath faster to get more oxygen into our blood.’

20 Complete this with a powerful adverb:
Scaffold prompt Learning intention: To use dialogue to give the reader an impression of character - ‘Emil smiled and whimmpered, “Put it in your pocit.”’ Here’s a similar example using the Scaffold Prompt. Notice that although the student made multiple spelling errors, the teacher’s feedback prompt overlooked these mistakes and instead only addressed the learning intention of developing character. Hence, the feedback wasn’t focused on ‘improving spelling’. Complete this with a powerful adverb: Emil smiled ………….. ‘Emil smiled slyly’

21 Name one example of each and think of how they get or make their food.
Example prompt Learning intention: To classify living things ‘All living thing in the garden can be divided into plants and animals, depending on how get food’ Name one example of each and think of how they get or make their food. And finally, here’s an example of the Example Prompt feedback process. You will notice that the feedback is focused on the learning intention and the student’s grammar can be corrected at a later time. ‘ ‘All living thing in the garden can be divided into plants and animals, grass is a plant as it makes it’s own food and birds are animals as they cannot make their own food..’

22 Prompts for improvement
Activity 2 Prompts for improvement Now that we’ve seen the definitions for and examples of the three types of prompts used in formative feedback, it’s your turn to spot them. (Pass out Activity sheet 4: ‘Classification worksheet’) I’d like you to get back into your groups. Using the feedback statements from the previous activities, read through them again and this time classify them under one of the three prompt types: reminder, scaffold or example. Record your decisions on the worksheet provided. Please note that not every statement qualifies as a formative prompt. (Allow 5 minutes for groups to make their choices) Now that you are all finished, which statements did you classify as Reminder Prompts/Scaffold Prompts/Example Prompts? (Allow time for discussion and explanations for their choices, and then provide them with the correct answers, which are marked on the Facilitator statement sheet you used in the previous activity)

23 Final suggestions For effective formative feedback:
Relate the feedback to the learning intention and features of quality Identify where success has occurred Set a goal for improvement Show where and how improvement could take place Allow time for students to make improvements Start small That’s the end of this unit. Here are just a few thoughts to take away with you. The last bullet is particularly important as you all try to introduce this in your classrooms. You will not be able to give detailed oral or comment-only written feedback on every piece of work. To begin, you could: try choosing one occasion a month for comment-only marking Or spread the load by focusing on one group of students at a time. Whichever approach you introduce, using a formative approach can make your ongoing feedback more informative and beneficial to students.

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