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Correction, feedback and assessment: Their role in learning

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1 Correction, feedback and assessment: Their role in learning
Liz Hamp-Lyons University of Hong Kong

2 Same or different? For many decades the three terms in my title were considered to be three distinct kinds of activities suitable for three different kinds of situation. Let’s consider each in turn.

3 Correction requires that:
Teacher recognises what kind of error the learner made Is able to provide an accurate and detailed linguistic analysis of the error Is able to explain why this is wrong Is able to provide a correct replacement for the error

4 Correction assumes that
Teacher has correctly identified the error Teacher has understood the student’s intended meaning Student understands and accepts that s/he has made an error Student understands the correction Student is able to internalise and generalise from the correction Student can apply the correction in a new context

5 Findings from LPAT (English)
suggest that a large percentage of English teachers cannot meet these assumptions/expectations But we must remember that a large percentage of native English-speaking teachers of English also cannot meet these assumptions/expectations (research by Reid, Raimes, etc. etc)

6 Feedback assumes that Not all learners can on all occasions recognise what kind of mistake they made and why it is wrong Not all teachers can on all occasions fulfill all the assumptions of correction and therefore sometimes teachers cannot tell learners what they did wrong or give appropriate correction, remediation or advice

7 however-- that was a deficit argument!
Better arguments for feedback over correction include: Feedback enables/encourages a cyclical learning process Students are motivated to learn by the possibility of revisiting and improving their own performance later in the cycle, or in a new cycle Feedback, carried out in the right way, offers the opportunity for accessible evidence both of what they have done and of what progress they need to make

8 All these add up to one main point:
Feedback is for learning; Correction often is not.

9 Quote from a teacher in our research studies:
I would say as a teacher, a school teacher, examination in the school usually shares two purposes. One is assessing them; the other is teaching, maybe not always, but I have just mentioned the oral examination. In fact every time I teach them, not just assess them. Because after their examination, I give them some feedback, right after the examination, group after group. It really helps them to improve and so that’s more… still, I think the SBA component is better, because it can encourage students to do better. (Doc 17 of 48 para 40-58)

10 This teacher sees the problem:
I think the comments are much more important than the marks. But the fact is the HK kids only care about marks. And this is the problem. (Doc 5 of 10 para 177)

11 This one sees what may be possible:
“… they give a mark to their partners I mean to their classmates but then they know that it is not counted in their report card in the final exam, so they don’t really mind and then I look at the marks they gave. They do not really randomly give a mark or according to whether they like the student or not. They really think about it because I explain the four criteria first. So the marks they gave I think is quite fair, fair enough and not too high, not too low, not too mean, not too generous. I think the input that teachers gave to students is very important. We train them so that they have the culture of this sort of self evaluation or peer evaluation.” (Doc 5 of 48 para 53)

12 Is there a solution? If there is, it’s not correction; it may be feedback. But, feedback in a summative assessment needs to be carefully planned at the central, school and class level.

13 Assessment Summative assessment Formative assessment
Feedback can be where the two meet. Correction probably cannot.

14 Survey data at the very beginning of the SBA
areas where teachers, schools and the educational system need to work to widen students’ perceptions of the role of assessment in learning; areas where students’ attitudes and expectations are hearteningly positive and offer great promise for the success of assessment for learning initiatives.

15 What skills do teachers need
in order to successfully create a feedback-rich language classroom as part of assessment for learning? Understanding of the relationship between correction and feedback, so they can incorporate a coherent feedback plan into their teaching.

16 Grounding in assessment for learning principles and practice, in order to be able to carry out real-time judgements of individual problems and needs and establish a plan of support to help each student fill those needs and solve their problems within the normal instructional cycle.

17 Clear understanding of the objectives, criteria and standards (in other words, the expectations) of the English oral school-based assessment so that they can provide appropriate and clear feedback.

18 But these needs are in no way peculiar to assessment for learning or school-based assessment, but increasingly understood to be central to educational effectiveness in all contexts and all disciplines.

19 Changing assessment cultures in Hong Kong
“Based on the beliefs that every student is unique and possesses the ability to learn, and that we should develop their multiple intelligences and potentials … there should be a change in assessment practices and schools should put more emphasis on 'Assessment for Learning' as an integral part of the learning, teaching and assessment cycle …”

20 Changing assessment cultures in Hong Kong
“… In other words, teachers should use assessments (e.g. as simple as effective verbal questioning, observation of student behaviour) and provide immediate feedback to enhance student learning in everyday classroom lessons. The focus is on why they do not learn well and how to help them to improve rather than just to use assessments to find out what knowledge students have learned.”

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