Goal Setting and Feedback To Support Learning

Recently a colleague shared with me a couple of articles written by Grant Wiggins on the use of feedback in the classroom. In his posts he highlighted several key strategies for trying to promote and incorporate quality feedback. He defines feedback as being “useful information on one”s effect or results, given a specific measurable goal.” He goes on to state that feedback should be descriptive in nature and free of judgements or praises. This made me think about the way feedback is used in the classroom. It seems that feedback is most often used as a form of assessment, but how effective is it in supporting growth in our learners? Could students benefit more from receiving feedback before a grade is given cheap inflatable toys?

“Whether feedback is just there to be grasped or is provided by another person, helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable ; user-friendly (specific and personalized); timely; ongoing; and consistent.” stated Wiggins. This statement outlines his essentials for providing feedback, which can lead to great gains for the recipient. He centers helpful feedback around these seven key elements. This led me to reflect on how we use scoring guides in the classroom. It seems as if scoring guides are one way that teachers can guide students in setting goals and producing high quality final products. However, what might be some other ways to use feedback in the classroom?

Here are a few ideas one classroom teacher shared with Wiggins for fostering feedback…

  •  Students are asked to drjeffsklar.com review their finished products. Before they hand them in they must reflect on what they did that was high quality, and one thing they could do differently to increase their quality of work. Students could then implement their own suggestions; revisions, or make adjustments to their products.
  • Students invite peers to provide feedback on what they did well and on what they could do better. Students could then implement their peer’s suggestions, and revise or make adjustments to their product.
  • Students are asked to review their work and share a brief statement explaining the goal behind their final product to the teacher or with a peer. This checks student understanding and their individual commitment to their project.
  • At the start of each class, students’ write down their goal(s) for the day. At the end of class reflect on what they did well and one thing they could have done better to meet their goal(s). Revision of the project can be performed for the next class period.
  • Students self-evaluate and reflect on the week and how they did in meeting their  weekly goal(s) or objective.
  • Teacher records student provided feedback and any additional efforts taken toward meeting their goals. This can be used as part of a whole group discussion to assist students in evaluating and setting future goals.

As educators we want students to self-evaluate and use peer evaluations to support educational growth. However, teaching students how to give feedback that is tangible is a tough task; this requires opportunities for students to work with and create feedback often.  As we go forth into the New Year and the second semester of the school year, what strategies might you use to foster the use of feedback in the classroom?

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You can read his full article published on ASCD here.  (Seven Keys to Effective Feedback).

 

This post was provided by Amy Blades, an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.  Thank you to Brook Higgins, an eMINTS Instructional Specialist, for sharing this resource with me.