Help Needed With Feedback Strategies

Miss K, an elementary teacher, needs your help to provide timely, individualized feedback to her students.

When she gets caught up in the day-to-day of running her class, it’s easy to use her tried and tested strategies that have always worked. But, what happens if something changes in the class, such as new evaluation standards being adopted, and what she always did in the past no longer works?

How the teacher currently provides feedback

Miss K is the teacher of a Grade 2 class that has 25 students. She uses one main method to provide feedback: when children complete an assignment, she responds in writing and sometimes puts a sticker on their paper. If the child receives negative feedback (such as “failure to complete”) on three assignments in one day, a letter is sent home to the parents. Students receive new assignments each day, so every child has the chance to start afresh.

Image from Timely Feedback: Now or Never on Edutopia

Miss K also provides feedback by talking to students individually in student conferences. At the end of the week, she notes which students she has visited most so that she may visit other students more often in the following week.

The challenging aspect

Miss K has been quite happy with the way she provides feedback to her class, but new evaluation standards were adopted in the last few weeks, which have disrupted the expectations of the whole class. In her former evaluation, Miss K was expected to “teach students to reflect on and to apply standards and criteria to their work.” She was observed frequently to verify that she consistently “used feedback that focused the students’ attention on the process of learning.”

The new evaluation expectations require that she use checks for understanding of all students in five ways:

  1. Use open-ended questions to assess student understanding of material and surface common misunderstandings
  2. Accept only high quality student responses
  3. Don’t allow students to “opt-out”; cycle back to students who didn’t answer;
  4. Immediately identify misunderstandings when they arise
  5. Lead students to the correct answer by asking pertinent, scaffolded follow-up questions that activate background knowledge, helping students to think aloud, and model.
Image from Center for Educational Leadership

What the teacher has tried

Miss K has tried her usual feedback techniques, but written feedback on assignments and student conferences do not address several of these new expectations. For example, Miss K struggles to immediately identify misunderstandings when the majority of her feedback is provided after the assignment has been completed. She is also unsure how to lead students to the correct answer after they have already completed their assignment. Miss K is wondering how she can fulfill these new expectations.

Your advice

Miss K has asked for our help. She is unsure how to assist her students according to these new expectations. So a couple of questions for you:

  • What advice would you give Miss K?
  • What strategies and techniques can Miss K apply?
  • Are there any programs you could recommend that Miss K could implement in her class that could also benefit her students?

Thank you and a prize

As a thank you for your time and effort in responding, we will be offering a free Classkick shirt to one lucky winner!

Each person that responds will be entered into the drawing, and we will randomly choose the winner. The entries for the prize close on Sunday 5 Feb 2017 at 11:59 pm Central. The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Monday and the winner will receive the prize by mail.

Thanks for your thoughts!