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Part 1 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Feedback is Emotional

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Most of us have experienced that moment where you pass back papers, full of rich and detailed feedback, and watch a student walk out of class and drop it in the recycling. It's hard not to take it personally. Why do some of our students struggle so much with receiving and using feedback?




Receiving feedback can make students anxious and that can lead to feedback avoidance. The way that feedback messages are perceived can differ greatly depending on the relationship between the provider and the recipient. Feedback comments that are perceived as negative feedback by one student may be received as positive feedback by another. We can help our students be more receptive to feedback by helping them to uncover and unpack their emotional responses.

Strategies

  • Priming: Acknowledge the emotional nature of receiving feedback by priming students before receiving peer feedback sessions and teacher feedback. Together, name the challenges and opportunities present when receiving feedback. Debrief after receiving feedback.
  • Reflection: Ask students to reflect on feedback immediately after receiving it and before acting on it. This may be as simple as asking them to circle an emoji on an exit ticket to represent how they feel about the information they received. 
  • Modeling: Model your own efforts to engage with constructive feedback. I do this by debriefing my mid-semester course evaluations with my students.
Image result for emoji feelings chart
Image courtesy of KiddieMatters.com

Building a Holistic Feedback System

These strategies meet the following criteria

Actionable Information

☐ Focuses feedback on task, process, or regulation
☐ Supports timely communication of feedback information
☐ Structures feedback to include information about goals, progress, and activities for improvement
☐ Aligns feedback with standards and criteria
☐ Supports a variety of assessment and feedback types

Feedback Literacy

☐ Supports guided self-assessment
☐ Supports guided peer-assessment
☐ Supports worked examples
☐ Supports engagement with grading criteria
☐ Asks students to specify the feedback they would like to receive
☐ Encourages students to thoroughly read feedback information
☐ Encourages students to revisit prior feedback information
☐ Emphasizes the connection of one assignment to the broader learning outcomes

✓ Supports a positive relationship between feedback provider and recipient

Agency to Act

☐ Makes evident when feedback information has been used to improve work
✓ Promotes dialogue and discussion around feedback information
☐ Supports sequencing of tasks to promote application of feedback
☐ Supports sharing of tailored resources or alignment of resources with learning needs

✓ Supports goal-setting and reflection in response to feedback
☐ Supports development and execution of an improvement or revision plan
☐ Supports revision and resubmitting of work
☐ Supports the organization of feedback to reveal patterns and themes
☐ Supports the showcasing of work that evidences growth in response to feedback

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Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional



For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?)How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"