Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Grading/Feedback

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Whitney Chambers

"One of the great things about being recognized is that you receive this feedback from people. It is easy to see how sincere people are. It's nothing fake or jive. They're giving sincere appreciation. And it's not that easy to express.

-John Austin-

LEARNING TARGETS[edit | edit source]

Readers should be able to differentiate between effective feedback and ineffective feedback.

Readers should be able to understand the importance of feedback.

Readers should be able to identify different ways to give feedback.

INTRODUCTION[edit | edit source]

Praising a student for his or her progress, achievements, and milestones is something that often is overlooked in the classroom by teachers. Often teachers forget or do not have the time to stop and reward students with feedback that is positive and beneficial. Feedback is fundamental to learning, but opportunities to receive it are often scarce in classrooms. (Carr, 2008) Most of the time students are presented with feedback in the form of punishment. For example when a student is being disruptive, that student is the one who receives the teachers attention. This is not wrong, but the teacher should give praise to the students who are following the directions as well. Feedback is not about the praise or blame, approval or disapproval. It describes what the student did and did not do (Providing Students with Effective Feedback, 2008). As long as feedback is effective and not ineffective and teachers differentiate the two then the bridge between students and the teacher can come together.

COMMON FEEDBACK[edit | edit source]

Praising and expressing pleasure enhance the faculty-student relationship (Smith, 2008). If the student feels that he or she has a personal relationship with their teacher they will continually do what it takes to maintain that relationship. Very often, students receive grades as a feedback at the end. Along with grades teachers give effective feedback to explain why the student earned that particular grade. Often to do this teachers use rubrics and this prevents bias grading and allows students to see how he or she was graded. One study showed students preferred a rubric to paragraph-style comments to provide summary evaluations of their essays. They wanted to know both positive and negative aspects of their work. (Smith, 2008). However students need to stay on track and know that they are doing what is expected of them. Proper feedback can be done a number of ways such as teacher to student, student to student, or student to themselves.

METHODS OF FEEDBACK[edit | edit source]

Most commonly when thinking of feedback in the classroom, teachers are assumed the only ones who can give feedback. However, teachers are not the only ones who can give effective feedback. Students give themselves feedback thru self evaluations along with receiving feedback from their peers thru peer reviews. Students need to feel successful, and the feedback that they receive through both self-evaluation and peer evaluation can help them see their growth on specific task.

Students are not only the ones who benefit from feedback. Feedback is not only beneficial to students but teachers as well. One way this is done by having students evaluate their performance and thru peer review. According to author, Sonya Carr this feedback gives useful information about the quality of instruction and can guide teachers’ instructional planning and decision making (Carr, 2008). If the majority of the students feel as though the lesson taught was not as beneficial or was not clearly taught, the teacher can use the feedback to improve. Not only does it give teachers negative feedback it can show teachers what lesson students really enjoyed and found most beneficial to their learning (Carr, 2008). Teachers can gain important insights about students’ perceptions of themselves and their learning. Often students are their worst critic and this allows teachers to promote and encourage his or her students.

INEFFECTIVE FEEDBACK[edit | edit source]

Along with effective feedback students encounter ineffective feedback which hinders the learning process and cause students to “withdrawal” from the whole learning process. For instance some teachers show favoritism causing other students not to try as hard because they feel it will not matter. The student who gets all of the teachers attention often gets the sense he or she can do no wrong. Another example of ineffective feedback is teachers being too general for example “good job,” or “well done.” Teachers should be specific as to what the student has done well. This prevents the student thinking the teachers is just saying it. Teachers must understand that comments such as “good work” are not specific enough and that students need fair and honest feedback (Carr, 2008). When a teacher gives feedback at the end of a lesson, unit or activity this can be considered ineffective feedback. When feedback is done at the conclusion students cannot improve, whereas feedback given throughout the lesson the student can adjust their progress resulting in them achieving a better score. According to Academic Leadership, an online journal, not only must feedback provide a mirror to the student in terms of how his or her performance relates to the learning goal, it must also provide strategies and tips on how to achieve that goal, as well the opportunity to apply the feedback (Providing Students with Effective Feedback, 2007). If teachers clearly communicate their expectations an criteria for success from the beginning through the end to his or her students, students can begin to view the evaluations as part of the learning process (Carr, 2008).

MOST EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK[edit | edit source]

According to Professors Paul Black and Dylan William, three essential elements enhance feedback. The first element is recognition of the desired goal, secondly evidence about the present position, and lastly some understanding of a way to close the gap between the two previous essentials (Black, 1998). If teachers give criticism it needs to be constructive rather than having the student feel persecuted. Here are some examples that constitute effective feedback:

Example of clear, complete feedback: "You tie in the opening and the conclusion very nicely here by showing how the main character matured between the beginning and end of the novel."

Example of supportive feedback: "Excellent job! You really understand why the protagonist did what he did." Or, if criticism is necessary, make it constructive; i.e., "I think you might have misunderstood the protagonist's role in the story. Why not go back and re-read Chapters 3-5, and I'm sure you'll see why he made the choices he did."

Examples of poor feedback: Too-brief comments, such as "This is good." (Why?) or "You need improvement here." (Why? What kind of improvement?) Negative comments, such as "You obviously haven't grasped the material." or "My third-grader can write better than this."

Pennsylvania State University 2004

CONCLUSION[edit | edit source]

A student knows his or her potential, and has the power to make decisions as to take what is being taught and applying it. It is a greater feeling for students to know that the teacher sees their potential as well thru effective feedback. In the classroom students should be able to communicate with their teacher about his or her progress, what the student may not be doing correctly as well as praise when they do something positive. If teachers used feedback to evaluate their progress teachers can also see the progress and the difference they are making on their students.

If Ms. Smith tell tells Little Johnny that the report he turned in was good, but ask Johnny to revise his grammar mistakes, this type of feedback would be considered? A.) Ineffective Feedback B.) Effective Feedback C.) Rubric D.) Beneficial

An example of Effective Feedback is _____________.

A.) “The paper is to short”

B.) “Please include why you think you agree with the author, but great job with explaining the authors point of view”

C.) “Great Job”

D.) “There are many grammatical errors, please re-write this paper”

When should students receive effective feedback?

A.) In the beginning

B.) Throughout the assignment

C.) Towards the end of an assignment

D.) Only in a rubric after the assignment is graded

According to Black and Williams the third essential element to enhance feedback is ________________.

A.) Some understanding of a way to close the gap between the desired goal and present position.

B.) Some understanding of a way to close the gap between what the teacher says and what the student says.

C.) Some understanding of a way to close the gap between how the student is expected to perform and what the teacher knows about the student.

D.) Some understanding of a way to close the gap between how the teacher grades the assignment and how the rubric reads.

Answers (A,B,B,A)

REFERENCES[edit | edit source]

Black, Paul and William, Dylan (1998) Inside the black box: raising standards through classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappan. Retrieved March 20, 1998,

Carr, Sonya C. (2008) Student and Peer Evaluation: Feedback for All Learners. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40, No. 5, 24-30. Retrieved March 20, 2009,

Providing Students with Effective Feedback . (2007) [Electronic version] Academic Leadership, 4, No. 4. Retrieved March 20, 2009,

Smith, Lois J. (2008) Grading Written Projects: What Approaches Do Students Find Most Helpful? Journal of Education for Business, 83, No. 6, 325-330. Retrieved March 20, 2009,

'Reader ResponseTbandy001 (talk) 19:31, 16 April 2009 (UTC) I thought this article was really informative because I never really payed attention to feedback and how effective it was until I joined the class this semester. You gave examples of common feedback, most effective feedback, and bad feedback. I think that this article was very informative, had I would have never taken this class your article would have told me everything I would need to know about what feedback is and how it works. I think all feedback is good feedback though because without any feedback you would never know what people thought of your performance. All you would have to go on is your own perspective.