Teacher Feedback/Assessment For Learning

Feedback is to student learning as water and sunlight is to the growth of a plant. Just as certain types of plants require different quantities of water and hours of sunlight to grow-all students depend on specific feedback to learn skills and concepts found in the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.

Many believe feedback of student learning is one, if not the most, important influences on student achievement. In Leading The Way to Making Classroom Assessment Work, Davies, Herbst and Reynolds state “when students are involved in the classroom assessment process, they become more engaged in learning. Teachers are finding that six key strategies help to create classrooms where learning is the number one focus:

1. Involve students in setting and using criteria.

2. Engage students in self-assessment.

3. Increase the sources of specific, descriptive feedback.

4. Assist students to set goals.

5. Have students collect evidence of learning in relation to standards.

6. Have students present evidence of learning in relation to standards.”

John Hattie (2009) in his research determined that feedback was among the most powerful influences on achievement and that most programs and methods that worked best were based on heavy “dollops” of feedback. Hattie went on to explain feedback is most powerful when feedback is from the student to the teacher. When teachers seek feedback from students as to what students know, what they understand, where they make errors, when they have misconceptions, when they are not engaged-then teaching and learning can be synchronized and powerful.

If feedback is indeed essential to student achievement, where do teachers find the time to provide the specific feedback required to help students learn? When does a high school language arts teacher grade 150 writing assignments? Teachers must have enough time to assess student work and have a life outside of school. Teachers must have the time and tools not only to assess student learning but provide specific feedback for growth which is when students will take over ownership of learning. When students own the learning, engagement increases and they are deeply committed to become a life long learner.

Visible Learning-A Synthesis of over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Student Achievement  (2009), by John Hattie.

Leading The Way to Making Classroom Assessment Work (2008) by Davies, Herbst and Reynolds.

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