Assessments and Feedback seemed to be the themes of my day.
I come from a culture of feedback. Prior to teaching, my part time job in university was with a company built around a mantra of “our best resource was our people and that our people make us who we are”. This is an important skill we need to teach our students. In order to do so, we need to shift our school culture and make it a school wide culture of feedback.
Feedback is tough to give and receive. As professionals we need to become comfortable with asking for feedback and giving feedback to the people we work with. This really brought me back to the amount of development my managers did with us as a staff. It was not a quick process and a lot of people waited until there was a designated time to seek feedback from other members of the team besides the people they worked with.
A few things stuck in my mind as I took this trip down memory lane.
- Ask permission to seek or give feedback
- There is a range of feedback but we want our feedback to be specific, constructive/helpful, positive word choice and timely.
- Clarify or seek clarification so it is a positive experience
- Share and relate
What great experience for students to learn to give and get feedback. I am trying to pass that training I have received but now I feel like there is a moment for staff to really learn how to give and seek feedback. Feedback is often thought of as a time consuming thing but it does not have to be. We used to find the odd moment for a quick 5-10 minute conversation. There is always support somewhere in the building to facilitate those conversations quickly.
April led a conversation at our “mini EdCamp” session on assessment.
Students showcase their learning via assessments and projects. We need to focus on the formative before we look at the summative. We also need to make the formative assessments a reflective piece for the students to see where they are at by looking at continuums and comparing their work to expectations and exemplars. Students need to show their voice as well with co-created criteria when appropriate and they need those expectations laid out for them.
Formal Assessments shouldn’t be the snapshot either. Students need to have a variety of opportunity to show their learning. My biggest take away was why are we giving grades on formative assessments or only grades on summative ? Why not give comments, feedback, areas of strength and areas of weakness? Make it reflect how we do our report cards!