Feedback and Assessments

12 May

One thing that I like about the course is how we do an activity based on a standard first to get feedback before we receive a grade on that standard. I like this because it gives us a chance to improve our work before we are graded on it. –10th grade honors English student

At the heart of the Inquiry Learning Plan (ILP) is individualized discovery and the goal of improvement. We want students to feel comfortable enough to take risks in areas that are historically weaker for them, and rather than punish them when they’re trying something for the first time, we want to make sure that their grades reflect what they’re capable of after learning takes place. That is why we use a lot of formative feedback; we give ungraded responses to student work that is designed to help them improve in specific skill and/or content areas while they are learning. Summative assessments–graded work that measures student knowledge and skills after learning–only occur at the end of each of our inquiry units. With the ILP, we use summative assessments to evaluate the final attempts at each standard.

There are a lot of possible variations to this structure, but I typically aim to give students two rounds of formative feedback before they turn in an activity for a grade. Sometimes that feedback comes directly from us, and sometimes it comes from peers. Below is a typical feedback loop over the course of a unit:

Section of the ILP

Assessed by

Feedback type

Activities 1-3 Peer Formative
EQ Reflection, Standards Reflection Teacher and/or teacher-librarian Formative
Activities 4-6 Teacher and/or teacher-librarian Formative
EQ Reflection, Standards Reflection Teacher and/or teacher-librarian Formative
Activities 7-9 Teacher and/or teacher-librarian Summative
EQ Reflection, Standards Reflection Teacher and/or teacher-librarian Summative

As they go through the ILP, students are completing two rounds of activities (6 activities in total) and reflecting on their progress toward standards twice before they even set goals for their final attempts at the standards. As an additional means of communication, we also set up conferences with students during which they can ask questions, discuss feedback, and solidify their goalsStudent Pics 002

Summative assessments at the end of the unit are done with student-designed rubrics. With two rounds of feedback from both teachers and/or peers, this system attempts to create the optimal environment for students to do their best work.  Even students who run out of time, don’t quite look at the feedback carefully enough, or try to throw something together on the bus are better equipped to evaluate their own learning.  Because they have gone through such a meticulous formative process prior to the final activity, these students can still articulate why their products do not represent their best.

2 Responses to “Feedback and Assessments”

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  1. Feedback and Assessments | Buffy Hamilton's Unq... - May 14, 2013

    […] One thing that I like about the course is how we do an activity based on a standard first to get feedback before we receive a grade on that standard. I like this because it gives us a chance to imp…  […]

  2. Directness in Feedback | Clare's ELT Compendium - June 8, 2013

    […] Feedback and Assessments (letgotolearn.com) […]

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