An Improvement in More Direct and Timely Student Feedback

--Originally published at Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1

Timely, efficient feedback is an area I consistently find challenging. I believe I have improved over the years, but I could often be so much better.

A flipped classroom obviously allows for better feedback. I am with students as they work with content, and I am able to give frequent, verbal feedback as I walk around and watch students work.

I struggle with stuff I take home. Things I would like to look at, make comments on, and return to students. The turn-around on these things is seldom quick enough to make a difference. And students aren't keen on reading comments I've written on something they completed yesterday (or...before yesterday).

I want them to learn from feedback. I want them to be able to try and try again until they get something right.

A few weeks ago I had a mini A-Ha.

I gave a warm-up on material from previous days' content. When students finished they were to let me check their work. If everything was correct, they moved on to the next thing in the day's agenda (I love self-paced days, and kids do, too). If they missed anything, I returned the paper to them, and they continued to work.

My feedback got more specific the more I returned to a student. At first, I told them which problems they missed. The next time, I would give them something more specific about where they were missing a problem. Eventually, we might have some one-on-one instruction about difficulties they were having.

Students worked until they got everything correct.

They received immediate, meaningful feedback.

They acted on the feedback. Immediately.

I've used the process a few times since then, and I like it. Students are improving at finding their mistakes. They are developing perseverance. I think the process helps with stress levels, as they know they can work with problems until they get them right. I am able to give lots of high-fives as students conquer a problem that is giving them difficulties.

The only issue I saw is that one issue that permeates every aspect of what I would like to accomplish in class: time. A few students (not many) have spent most of the class on a few problems and not had a lot of time with the new material for the day. It hasn't been a deal-breaker, but it is something I will have to continue to look at and see if there's something I can do to make it better.

Overall, though, I like this way of delivering feedback. Anytime I can tell students right NOW what they need to work on, and they can work on those things right NOW, students will make progress and deepen their learning.

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