"Feedback has long been seen as a powerful form of teaching, though increasingly researchers are recognizing that certain types of feedback are more effective than others. It turns out, for instance, that grades and written comments on student assignments, which are the most common type of feedback, are the least effective. That's because, as Dylan Wiliam writes in Embedded Formative Assessment, " in such situations, feedback is rather like the scene in the rearview mirror rather than through the windshield. Or as Douglad Reeves once memorably observed, it's like the difference between having a medical [checkup] and a postmortem.""
When I was a student, almost all the written feedback I got in math class came on tests. The main purpose of these notes was to justify a grade. This was frustrating to me and ever since I became a math teacher, I’ve wanted to give feedback of a different sort. Rather than reporting to my students what they did or didn’t understand, I wanted my feedback help them come to understand it on their own. Two years ago, I realized that, despite my best efforts, I was falling short of this standard. Since then, I’ve been searching for better ways to use comments to help learning along.
Lisa Birno is a Heinemann Fellow with the 2014–2016 class, and has been an educator for 27 years. In today's post, Lisa describes how one of her students helped her to create a safe, supportive learning community.
Michael Pershan is a Heinemann Fellow with the 2014–2016 class, and has been an educator for five years. In today's post, Michael updates us on his continuing research project: Is written feedback or oral feedback more beneficial for fostering geometric thinking in high school students?