No Matter What Way You Cut It; Autopsy Feedback is Less Effective
As soon as a student thinks they are done with something it is like they are coated in Teflon. They have mentally moved on to the next thing. When they get their feedback back tomorrow, 3 days from now, next week, in 3 weeks… they care less. The longer the gap between completing something and getting feedback, the less you care.
Autopsy feedback is feedback we give after the due date. After a student mentally thinks they are done.
I eventually eliminated homework, but on my journey to eliminate I reduced homework. Even down to 3 problems. I would look at their homework the next day and say things like “you are so close, you’re just missing a negative. Can you go back and redo these 3 problems?” DEATH DAGGERS came out their eyeballs. No, they do not want to go back and redo those problems, they are DONE with those problems.
G Suite Reduces Autopsy Feedback
Why do I use Google Apps? COLLABORATION! This changes my role from evaluator to collaborator with the student. When I add work to Google Classroom, the second I add the work I have access to the work. Before the students have access to their work, I have access to their work.
Feedback Has a High Impact
Feedback only has an impact if the students actually read it. How often do we put comments on student papers and they never look at it? Not only are students more likely to read comments if the feedback is left during the process rather than after the process, students are more likely to learn from it. Once a student thinks they are done the impact of the comment can just roll off the student, they do not need that information anymore. They are hyperfocusing on their score rather than really internalizing the feedback. Without a score to focus on, feedback before the student thinks they are done allows the student to focus on the feedback. The feedback is FORMATIVE rather than punitive.
Autopsy feedback can have a blowback effect “well gee, that would have been great to know YESTERDAY. Too late now, I have a lower score.” Autopsy feedback has the potential to not be seen as helpful, but possibly hurtful.
Submit for Feedback
Consider not a due date, but a feedback date. I rewrite my rubrics and assignment directions to include “responds to and updates work based on feedback.”
“Even J.K. Rowling has an editor.” – Barton Keeler
English teacher Barton Keeler points out that no matter how awesome a students paper it, it can always be improved. The paper is not done until the final and required phase of responding to feedback has been accomplished.