Session 4.3 - Formative feedback
1 Review of follow-up activities from last session
If you are running a professional learning programme which follows these sessions in sequence, then you should do the review of follow-up activities relating to the previous session (Learning objectives and success criteria). The 'review of follow-up activities' for that session is available here, and also shown below in the session text. However, if you are following selected sessions in a different order, then you should use the reflection appropriate to the previous session you did.
The review of the follow-up activities for this session (to be done at the start of the next session) is available here.
- Did you type your responses to the My Assessment Inventory on the Word document and save it in your files area on the desktop? Discuss if there were any issues as this activity will be repeated again this week.
- Share the new points that you have found from reading of your group’s pages from the document ‘AfL-Guidance (2007) for KS1-2’. Elaborate on these points with examples from your understanding that have been shaped by your teaching experience. Also share examples given in the document.
Highlight to the teachers that in the document it is explicitly mentioned that learning objectives and success criteria should be negotiated with the pupils. This will happen gradually when students get used to hearing the learning objectives and success criteria in every lesson and working to achieve them. Teachers should assess when their students are ready for the negotiation and then introduce it.
- Which learning objectives and success criteria did you form during the week? Did you face any issues in forming them (e.g. too wide/ too narrow, language child-friendly or not)? Share some examples with your peers.
- Did you try to share the learning objectives and success criteria with your students? How did you do it? (e.g. writing on the board, telling orally, displaying on a chart)
- Did you remind students about these objectives during the lesson? What were your students’ responses to these? (Remember we do not expect immediate improvement in learning but awareness of the objectives at this time should also be helpful in some ways. Share these experiences, if there were any.)
- Did you try one or more activities adapted for AfL in your classroom?
- Which activity(ies) did you try and for which topic?
- Did you find it useful for assessing students’ learning?
- What steps did you take to follow up on what you learned from the assessment (e.g. revising the topic or increasing the challenge)?
2 My assessment inventory
As this activity is repeated every week, avoid spending more than 4-5 minutes on it. Ask participants to start filling up the inventory as soon as they arrive for the workshop if there is any waiting time for everybody to get together.
Individual work (5 min) updating assessment inventory. Update the assessment inventory (info) that you started at the beginning of Unit 4. Add the date in the third row and describe your current understanding of assessment by identifying different kinds or elements of assessment. Then record the assessment measures that you have used. Please take care that you mention only the measures that you have used yourself and not the measures that you know of but have not tried.
3 Examples of different types of feedback
You have seen a short video clip of this same lesson before when you discussed mixed pace group work. During the lesson portrayed in these 2 video clips, Judith assigned groups to work on maths problems together. She invited students to share how they worked out the problems. Then she invited group secretaries to report the answers of their group. Finally, she assessed each group’s learning by involving all students in the whole-class assessment.
In today’s session the first short clip (group working on maths problem: duration 36 secs.) and the first part of the second clip (one girl shows her group’s working) will help to familiarise you with the context. Then watch the final part of the second video from the perspective of assessment (Judith goes through the groups’ answers: clip duration is 2.36). Discuss the episode afterwards using the stimulus questions below.
- Judith involved all students in assessing the learning of their own group. Share any personal experiences when you have involved students in assessing their own learning as a group.
- What was your topic?
- How did you assess the learning?
- How did you involve your students?
- Giving marks to students for their learning is common practice in classrooms in most countries. How often and when do you give marks to your students?
- How could teachers use AfL to diagnose what the low achievers like the group in the video had trouble with understanding?
- Can you think of other ways of giving feedback (besides giving marks) to students and involving them, so that they can be aware of their own learning?
- From Shirley Clarke’s brief description at the beginning, what do you think was the most significant point related to feedback?
- What do you notice in Helen’s discussion about the drawing when she was talking to the whole class?
- Do you think Helen’s feedback to the boy was fair? Why?
- Helen’s feedback was not quantitative but qualitative. Do you think this was more helpful or less helpful than the quantitative feedback? Why?
Shirley Clarke video on feedback: Watch from 0:00 to 4:37
- (Optional extra question, skip if there is less time) Imagine this situation: Helen was assessing the boy’s drawing at home i.e. when the child was not physically present near her. Would she still be able to give qualitative feedback? What would it look like?
Now watch the following video showing a different form of feedback.
- How was feedback in this video clip different from the clip of Helen?
- What are the advantages of giving written feedback to students?
- Do you think giving written feedback is possible in your context? What could be the issues? Discuss ways to solve these issues with your peers.
4 Understanding summative and formative feedback
Remind participants about the second Activity from last session (Unit 4 Session 2): Read Question 3 again for the benefit of the participants. It was: For the activity of drawing and labelling parts of the body, your success criteria are that your picture should show: (1) at least three parts of the body that are sense organs and (2) at least three parts of the body that have joints.
Ask the participants to turn to the third Activity ('Understanding summative and formative feedback') from the current session’s printouts.
Look at the example below. Two teachers - Teacher A and Teacher B have given feedback on this work.
- What are some differences between the feedback given by Teacher A and Teacher B?
- How would the feedback differ if it was given in the whole class (oral) or to the individual student (oral or written)?
Some common characteristics and differences between summative and formative feedback are:
|Summative Feedback||Formative Feedback|
1. Indication of accurate or inaccurate (tick or cross).
2. Usually accompanied by a grade or mark.
3. Usually provided a day or two after students have handed in their work.
1. Positive comments to describe work that is done well (descriptive, with reference to success criteria).
2. Would indicate to student what they need to improve on, if necessary, OR encourages students to develop their thinking beyond the current success criteria
3. Feedback is given as soon as possible.
Formative feedback is more helpful for students’ learning because it gives them pointers for the future. Like sharing objectives and criteria with pupils, it also gives the learners responsibility for developing their own thinking and skills. Sharing this responsibility is a key element of interactive teaching and it reduces the pressure on students.
Highlight to the teachers:
- formative feedback assists students’ learning
- the words in formative feedback communicate respect for students and their work, and position students to be in control of what they need to improve on (particularly the weaker students)
Note if teachers have any concerns about giving formative feedback. For instance,
- giving individual feedback during whole class teaching
- insufficient time
Some suggestions to resolve the concerns are:
- provide feedback based on commonly-made errors to the whole class, with reference to success criteria
- identify students who are able to successfully complete the task to assist other students
- provide written feedback
If there is time, consider these questions:
- Can summative feedback and formative feedback be given concurrently?
- How could that help students’ learning?
Break: Ask participants to take a 3-4 minute break. They can do whatever they like in the workshop room like walk for a bit, stretch, drink water, sing a song together etc, but should be asked to stay in the room as you do not want to lose the momentum or be delayed in restarting. Start again promptly after 4 minutes. You could play some music while participants relax, and stop the music to indicate that it’s time to return to their seats. They might want to change places after the break too.
5 Giving formative feedback
Read the Science question below and the responses from two students.
Lesson Objective: We are learning ways of preventing being infected by malaria.
Success Criteria: I will be successful if I can write at least two correct ways of preventing the malaria infection, communicating clearly and in some detail.
Question: Imagine you are going to visit someone in an area that is known to be infested with mosquitoes. Describe two ways to avoid being infected by malaria.
Sample student’s response:
Mary: I will avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes because malaria is very unpleasant.
Mulenga: As mosquitoes bite particularly at night, I will make sure I sleep in rooms that have a good mosquito net or wear a long-sleeved shirt. If I can plan in advance, I will visit a doctor to take some preventive medicine.
- What will be my feedback to Mary? Why?
- What will be my feedback to Mulenga? Why?
Role play (5 min) teacher-student feedback in pairs. Break into pairs, assign roles (teacher, Mary/Mulenga), and do a role play for 5 minutes. The person playing the teacher gives the feedback (based on the brainstorm you have just done), and the other participant (playing first Mary and then Mulenga) responds to the teachers comments or keeps a note of how the feedback makes them feel. Then swap roles and role play again.
Encourage participants to provide different formative feedback to each of the students. This may involve:
i. Acknowledge Mary’s attempt to respond to the question - prompt her to elaborate more on how he/she could avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
ii. Give full credits to Mulenga for her response through positive affirmation that comments on how she has addressed the success criteria (eg she has highlighted important strategies, clearly stated, nicely detailed). Also consider challenging her by encouraging her to think of another preventive way of being infected by malaria or whether she knows what preventive drug can be used.
It is expected that participants’ feedback will evolve during the brainstorm. This will happen if you reinforce the points below through modelling them yourself.
Limit the time to 5 minutes.
Whole group dialogue (5 min): Whole group discussion on teacher-student role plays. Come back together as a group. Discuss the role plays. Was is easier to give feedback to Mary or Mulenga? How did you feel when you were receiving feedback? Make a note of any particular points that you could use in the future when giving feedback to students.
While giving formative feedback (individually or in whole class):
- always begin with what is good about students’ work or which success criteria have been met and appreciate students’ responses
- ask students to reflect on which criteria was/were not met before you tell them.
- ask students what they could do next time/could have done this time to meet the success criteria
- suggest some points on which students could act immediately/in near future
- for high achievers suggest some points that can be achieved beyond the success criteria
Ask participants to pay particular attention to the words that they use - sensitive language that guides students for further action/effort is best. The feedback should be directed at students’ responses or work and NOT at the students themselves.
6 ICT practice: Different-tasks group work with ICT and activity planning
Different-tasks group work (20 min) on becoming an expert. As we discussed in the ICT practice in the first session of this unit, you now have an opportunity to deepen your skills in your chosen application. Divide into the same pairs as last time and continue developing the skills in your chose application. What is the idea that you are developing? In the last session of this Unit, you will be able to present what you have developed, so make notes, and work towards a particular item, such as a spreadsheet, a GeoGebra file etc.
7 Connecting with overarching goals of the programme
Open space (10 min). It's now time for the "open space", that gives you an opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen, and to relate those to the broader context of the programme. Do not just gloss over this section, but make time to raise issues, and probe the progress that you are making. You could use this space to:
- Remind yourselves of the of the Most Significant Change Technique, and e.g. collect more of your stories.
- Discuss your assessment portfolios: Is there anything that you are unsure about? Is it going well? What could be done better?
- Check on the work with the classroom assistants: Is this going well? Are there any tensions? Any observations or tips you can share?
- Reviewing individual ICT practise (such as typing practise).
- If you are preparing a presentation for other teachers, you could work on the presentation (about what you have been learning, stories emerging from MSC).
- Remind those who are doing audio diaries, to upload them.
- You could discuss any other issues that have arisen.
You will find notes and summaries of various techniques and concepts on our reference page, and you might want to refer to those for clarification during this activity if needed.
8 Follow-up activities
Part A: Update the electronic version of “my assessment inventory”. Open your file from your ‘files area’ on your desktop. Fill it in and save it again. Remember to bring the paper inventory to every session and make an entry in the electronic inventory every week.
- Your success criteria for all Formative Feedback homework below are:
- identifying evidence where the student performed well and appreciating that performance
- identifying evidence where the student could improve and giving practical tips for improving
- suggesting a higher target for high achieving students
Part B: For any topic that you are teaching this week, display the learning objective and success criteria. Then randomly choose a student’s work and assess it with the whole class with reference to the success criteria. You can watch Helen’s video clip again as an example for this homework. Record your experience on the dictaphone.
Part C: For a topic that you teach this week, give oral formative feedback to two students who (a) perform well and (b) struggle in the lesson. Record answers to the following questions on the dictaphone:
- What feedback did you give to each student?
- Why did you give that feedback?
- What difference did your feedback make to your students’ learning?
Part D: Give written feedback to a few students in your class this week. Record your observations of the experience and students’ learning on the dictaphone.
If possible, take pictures of the written work and your feedback with a digital camera. Upload it onto the server. Otherwise, bring the samples of your written feedback in the next workshop session.
In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.
At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!
Total time: 120 (min)
Activities in this session:
- Whole group discussion(15 min).
- Individual work (5 min) updating assessment inventory.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min): Video clips involving students in assessing their own learning.
- Whole group discussion (10 min) on formative assessment video.
- Whole group discussion (10 min) on giving written feedback.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): on the quality of feedback given.
- Individual activity (10 min): Reading about the differences between summative and formative assessment.
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): Whole group brainstorm on what feedback to give the students.
- Role play (5 min) teacher-student feedback in pairs.
- Whole group dialogue (5 min): Whole group discussion on teacher-student role plays.
- Different-tasks group work (20 min) on becoming an expert.
- Open space(10 min).
- Agreeing follow-up activities(5 min).
If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets:
- Video/Judith division group talk.m4v (local play / download options)
- Video/Judith division demo and scoring.m4v (local play / download options)
- Video/Formative Assessment in Schools.mp4 (local play / download options)
- Video/Secondary improvement marking.mp4 (local play / download options)