Feedback can be given in many forms. Primary teachers have a tendency to give feedback in the form of cute drawings, stickers and/or positive words, e.g., "Super,""Wow," "Great job," "Well done," or at the other end of the spectrum, "You can do better," "Try again," "Try harder." Middle school and high school teachers give percentages or letter grades. There are times when all of these types of feedback are appropriate. However, none of them help students to improve their performance.
Feedback to improve student performance should be:
- Formed to allow for self-adjustment
I would add "in the form of a nonjudgmental statement" to this list.
What does nonjudgmental feedback look and sound like?
- " This essay includes an opening sentence and 3 supporting sentences. It does not include a closing sentence." (This feedback provides the student with what they did correctly and what they need to improve on. I try not to use the word "you" in the feedback. Feedback sounds less judgmental without the word "you".)
- " The correct operation was used to solve this equation. However, the calculation is incorrect."
- " The hypothesis is stated correctly. Only two, out of the required three, forms of data have been recorded. A conclusion has not been included in this write-up."
- " This story includes a beginning, middle and ending. Punctuation marks are not included throughout the story."
If the students don't understand the feedback a rubric will provide clarity, especially if exemplars are included.
Nonjudgmental feedback takes time and a lot of thought. I suggest using nonjudgmental feedback on one set of papers the first week, to practice the language and then increasing the number of sets of papers each week. The more practice the easier and quicker assessing assignments will become.
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