Feedback

11. Analyse and appropriately use assessment information, which has been gathered formally and informally (from RTC)

i. analyse assessment information to identify progress and ongoing learning needs of ākonga
ii. use assessment information to give regular and ongoing feedback to guide and support further learning
iii. analyse assessment information to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching
iv. communicate assessment and achievement information to relevant members of the learning community
v. foster involvement of whānau in the collection and use of information about the learning of ākonga


So reflecting on Monday's Professional learning, we worked on understanding how to make feedback meaningful. What is useful and going to be cognitive and what is empty. "weak effort..." doesn’t help. It tells the student nothing about how they could master a new skill, improve technique or help to improve the student's general confidence. 
We used a reading from Carol Ann Tomlinson (Educational Leadership VOL. 71 No. 6 March 2014). The reading was broken into three parts and we worked through it as a jigsaw activity, learning from experts from each of the other two groups as well as teaching the other two experts also. It did make it more interesting as a process and was far preferable to sitting and being talked to for yet another hour. 
The youtube link above is Rita Pierson who is/was an American educationalist.  Great messages and she is damn funny. 
The key points of the session were:
1) How to help students understand what feedback is for; traditionally students see it as a test, which equals a grade and therefore discouragement
2) How to use clear KUD's (Knowledge, Understand, Do)
3) Making Room for student differences; allowing for alternative methods of recording evidence based on KUD's
4) Providing instructive feedback; not judgemental, even though it is a judgement (one is looking for negative aspects, one is evaluating) not empty and hard to decipher such as "weak effort" how is a student meant to interpret that? It should also provide learning targets and uses exemplars and allows for follow-up chances to apply the feedback and actually learn.
5) How to make it user friendly; this requires that the teacher understands the learning progression themselves (make an exemplar, know the pitfalls of your tasks) and is cognitive not emotional, challenging but achievable, differentiated,  and provides a "next step' to improve.
6) Assessing persistently; feedback should permeate the lesson, you are assessing confidence and also creating confidence. it should be well-structured and connected forwards and backwards from the last lesson and to the next one. The teacher should be listening for clues of understanding constantly. 
7) Engaging students with formative assessment; you want them to be engaged in the assessment process discursively. Using rubrics and 'next steps’ is important. Use exemplars, use peer assessment which needs to be explicitly taught to them. Students should be able to examine their own learning progression. 
8) Looking for Patterns; plan and group according to students needs. Plan how to move groups forward.
9) Planning instruction around content requirements and student needs; modify teaching and learning plans as required for your students as you move forward. Differentiate according to those needs.
10) Repeating the process; Habitual, ongoing repeated use of feedback and the processes developed around making sure it permeates your lesson. 
This is stuff that we all I know, I think, but sometimes having it put back at you as a well-analysed and thought out structure makes you challenge yourself as to whether you are really and consistently doing it as well as you could. 

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