(written by Karen Lea)
When I first started teaching, I thought it was enough to tell a student “good job” or stamp their work. As we listen to researchers and students, we now know that is not enough. We need to give what is called “academic feedback.” Why academic feedback? Marzano stated the most effective strategy for enhancing achievement is feedback that means something. Black and Dylan William stated formative assessment is one of the most effective tools to improve learning. Douglas Reeves stated academic feedback is related to lower failure rate, better attendance, and even fewer discipline problems.
What is academic feedback? Brookhart has written a book I suggest you read, How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students. Researchers define academic feedback as:
oral and written
What does that mean for us as teachers? It means learning to give specific, academically focused feedback. This takes practice, and it takes time. One of the great benefits is this also helps us focus on individual students and take time with each student.
So, what are some examples? Think about the examples below and then think about how you could start giving academic feedback to students. These examples tell the student specifics about how they met a target and instead of telling them what they could improve on, they require the student to reflect on how to improve.
1. The details in your essay give a strong case for recycling. You also gave one source to support your case. How many sources do you think would have made your case stronger?
2. You completed 7 out of 10 problems correctly and you demonstrated you understood the mathematical process. What could you do to correct the other 3?
3. Your answer to that question gives us 3 of the 5 facts. Do you want to add the other 2 facts or ask someone else to give the last 2 facts?
4. Your work on this project is stronger than the last project. You are demonstrating that you are learning. How could you make the next project even stronger?
These are just some examples. What are your examples?