Make Feedback Actionable
You stayed up all night writing feedback comments on a kids paper. You’re an awesome teacher and a good human being BUT …. did you waste your time? Why did you leave feedback? I assume the reason is to improve learning. If not, why? If students do not read your comments, captain obvious says they didn’t learn from it. Research shows that if you give a score and feedback that the value of your constructive criticism is reduced significantly.
No one likes to waste their time.
So how do we avoid wasting our time when giving feedback? I would like to argue you should not bother leaving comments unless it is actionable. The student must DO something with it.
Tip: Do not release the score until students have responded to your feedback.
It is actionable feedback that improves learning, not comments left on a paper.
Leverage Technology When Possible
Technology can help with this process. With technology, the back and forth process is significantly easier to manage. For example, in Google Classroom if I provide students with actionable feedback and return their work to them, the student resubmits when they have made the updates to their work. I am alerted that the student resubmitted thus reducing the burden of managing paperwork, I simply need to open an email and click. I do not need it on a certain day, my workflow is the same regardless of when they submit. I start with Gmail notifications.
Conference with Students
I love Catlin Tucker, English teacher, who says she is done with giving students feedback alone at home that they might not read. Instead, she gives them feedback TO THEIR FACE! Tucker is into the small station rotation model. The students rotate to her and she conferences with them about their comments.
The answer is not the answer. Ask students to respond to a prompt. You provide them with criticism that elicits a response. Even if a student provides an awesome answer, provide that student a challenge. The student must respond to your comments. The assignment is to have a conversation with you. The assignment is to learn from feedback. The assignment is to take a step to get better.
I use the Private Comments in Google Classroom to accomplish this. I ask students to “Respond in the Private Comments.” This means I have ZERO documents to open and the conversation is easily facilitated by the design of Google Classroom. I like to say that Private Comments are not comments… they are CONVERSATIONS. Conversations are powerful for learning.
You can not grade everything and have high-quality actionable feedback on everything. Take advantage of technology that will grade for you and will give students immediate evaluation (and a redo button.) Try Quizizz, Socrative, Formative, Quizlet, or one of many other awesome tools that will grade for you and give students immediate criticism. For LOW CRITICAL THINKING questions, I prefer a tool that will give comments question by question rather than a summary at the end. Focus your time on fewer assignments but that you are having back and forth conversations with students where they are required to have action on your feedback.
Try Rubric Scoring
Instead of points, consider where the student is at in their progress of responding to your feedback.
4 – No further action required.
3 – Minor improvement suggestions. Action not required.
2 – Some revisions required.
1 – Major revisions required.
0 – Missing or incomplete.