Guest Post via @KaralineVla: Can I Get Some Feedback on That?

Students everywhere have become increasingly worried with test scores, assignment marks, and report cards. They are fixated on obtaining a high mark, and when they do not receive their expected mark, they are extremely disappointed. They will check their score, and toss away their paper. Got an A? Great, don’t need to look at this. Got a B? Not so bad, don’t need to look at this. However, we seem to get the same response for a C; got a C? Don’t even want to look at this. What mentality have we been instilling in our students all these years?

As a Teacher Candidate, I am aware that I do not have the same experience as other teachers, however I feel that there is one thing I am sure of; the importance of feedback. It is the norm to mark a student’s work, and in a few blanks areas, leave some feedback. However, are our students actually reading this feedback? The truth is, probably not. How can we get our students to read the feedback which will ultimately help them improve? One solution that I have seen work, are single point rubrics. The centre of the rubric are your criteria that you want your students to follow, and hit all the points. The left side are all the aspects the student needs to work on for next time, or the points they perhaps did not quite get. On the right side are all the aspects the students exceeded in expectation. There are no longer levels 1-4; there is a main focus on the feedback; you are filling in feedback on the left hand side, and the right hand side. The only criteria on the rubric are all the points you want your students to ‘check off’.  Students will have to look through the feedback in order to see areas of improvement, or areas in which they succeeded above and beyond the expectation. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with giving students’ work back that does not have a mark on it – it strictly has feedback. This gets the students to reflect on their work, and look through what they did. Not everything they do requires a mark, either. 

But Ms. Karaline, why is feedback so important?

I’m really glad you asked. Feedback lets our students know what their current level of understanding is, and motivates them to learn more. It not only gives them a sense of achievement, but encourages their independence and satisfaction over their work and their education. It is very effective to give students feedback throughout their work. If they are creating a project, and the only feedback they get is at the end of their project, they are incapable of making changes, or using this feedback and integrating it into their work. By giving feedback midway through their project, or throughout, we are allowing our students to create their best work. 

I encourage all teachers to think about the importance of feedback, and integrate that in their classrooms if it is something they would like to do. I also encourage all teachers to continue to motivate their students in the pursuit of their education.

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