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Floop Team & Dr. Naomi Winstone: What does the research say about feedback best practices?

Over winter break, Floop co-founder Melanie and I had the privilege of talking with prominent feedback researcher Dr. Naomi Winstone. Her research has discovered that feedback interventions all seem to target at least one of four metacognitive skills, described by the SAGE process, and hypothesizes that a holistic approach to developing feedback systems should target all four of the skills:
  • Self-Appraisal: judging one's abilities
  • Assessment Literacy: understanding the grading process, standards, and criteria
  • Goal-Setting & Self-Reflection: being goal-oriented and monitoring progress to meet outcomes
  • Engagement & Motivation: having an attitude of receptiveness to performance information
Essentially, for feedback to reach that level of effectiveness that we've heard from experts like Hattie & Timperly, students need to be motivated to engage with feedback and have the feedback literacy skills to use it, and the instructional environment must give them the agency to act on their feedback.

Dr. Winstone was able to answer many of our questions regarding feedback best practices, and shared some practical strategies and resources which can be integrated into a larger feedback system to transform student learning:
  1. Practice disciplinary skills while learning feedback literacy. For example, my 8th grade science students developed data analysis skills while analyzing a semesters-worth of self-assessment data.
  2. Read Thanks for the Feedback with older students or Thanks for the Feedback, I Think with younger students (there's also a teachers guide). This is a great way to spark discussions around the emotional complexity of engaging with feedback.
  3. Create a culture of openness to feedback by getting students involved with designing feedback practices.
  4. Include in the summative grade a requirement that students to show evidence of using feedback to inform their final work.
  5. Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time, or DIRT, is a practice gaining popularity in the UK that allows students to:
    • Reflect on their learning and progress
    • Revise and improve their work
    • Use feedback to work towards mastery on prior work
You can learn more about Dr. Winstone's work by exploring The Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit (DEFT) tools, reading her research, or following her on Twitter @DocWinstone.

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