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Learn about high quality feedback in a remote setting, practice delivering feedback remotely, examine considerations for grading in a remote classroom

Examples of Ways to Give Feedback in Remote Classroom Settings

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Remote Classroom- digital

  • During a synchronous lesson, the teacher asks a question and students respond in the chat box. The teacher can give whole class feedback and follow up individually with students about their responses.
  • During a synchronous lesson, the teacher can share their screen and show student work examples. The teacher can guide a discussion about them.
  • Teachers can post feedback on the LMS in response to work that students submit

Remote Classroom- phone only

  • During their daily phone call with students, the teacher will give direct feedback on previous day’s work submissions with instruction for resubmissions and next steps.
  • The teacher provides written feedback on the student’s weekly graded work. The teacher follows-up on this feedback and asks the student reflection questions during their weekly phone call.

Note: What we’d consider high quality feedback in person is also high quality feedback in a remote classroom. It is just delivered through technology in some way. Some ways it could be delivered include:

  • Directly to a student or group of students orally during a synchronous video lesson
  • Directly to a student orally in a 1:1 phone call
  • Directly to a student through posting work with written feedback to an LMS
  • Directly to students in response to chat posts

High-Quality Feedback Checklist

Effective Feedback is:

  • Direct:
    • It is important students receive specific information about what they are doing right or wrong.
    • Effective feedback is clear and easy to understand.
  • Usable:
    • Students need to know how to apply the feedback they have been given to their work.
  • Timely:
    • Feedback is most effective when it is given immediately.
  • Goal-referenced:
    • Students must understand the specific goal of a task or lesson and the criteria they will be assessed with.
    • Students improve most when they are given ongoing feedback that measures their performance against a concrete, long-term goal.
  • Developmentally appropriate:
    • Feedback needs to be adjusted to meet the needs of the student. Appropriate feedback for a first grader will look and sound different than feedback for a ninth grader.
  • Frequent/ ongoing:
    • Students need to have opportunities to use feedback, so providing students with frequent feedback will allow for more chances to learn from it.
    • Teachers need consistent standards about what high-quality work looks like.
  • Nonjudgmental:
    • When giving feedback, teachers need to have a value-neutral tone.

In order to give effective feedback, teachers need:

  • Clear objectives communicated to the student in advance
  • Appropriate tasks
  • Specific criteria for success to indicate proficiency

Examples of Strong and Weak Feedback:

Strong Feedback: Make sure to tie everything back to your thesis. While your points on expanding NASA are good, the example of Saturn’s rings does not seem relevant to your thesis about space travel.” This feedback specifically references the student’s work, is goal-referenced, direct, and can easily be used by the student.  

Weak Feedback: “You didn’t fully address the prompt.” This feedback is vague, and does not give the student guidance on what to do next. In addition, it is not clear to the student what they did wrong.

Feedback Application Practice

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Apply the key point.

  • Read the following examples of feedback
  • In the 2nd column, identify if the example is quality feedback or not, and why.
  • If it is not high quality feedback, rewrite it.
  • In the 3rd column, describe how you could deliver it in a remote classroom.

Feedback Example:

Quality feedback or not? Why?

Remote Classroom Delivery

This is an excellent sentence.

 

 

 

 

I saw you checked the first sound with the picture when you got to a tricky word three times. That helps you read more words correctly and understand the story.

 

 

You are not counting correctly by tens.

 

 

That’s not how we use the commutative property.

 

 

 

 

You used all of the vocabulary words from the lesson in your paragraph, but the organization of your sentences is a bit confusing. Try adding transition words such as first, next, finally to give more structure to your paragraph so the reader can easily understand it.

 

 

Using Feedback to Build Investment

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Read the following article about how the use of feedback increases student motivation and investment. Answer the guiding questions as your read.

In the article, Terry Heaney suggests strategies to increase student motivation through the use of effective feedback. These strategies include: utilizing written feedback, rethinking how you handle errors, using green ink instead of red, and including student in setting goals when patterns emerge. According to Heaney, using these strategies will increase student motivation, as well as confidence in their ability to succeed.

This article highlights a critical issue when it comes to effective distance learning: motivation. As teachers, we need our students to be motivated to learn, especially in distance learning where we do not see them face-to-face. Receiving grades without feedback can lead to students becoming withdrawn and discouraged. Student investment in learning comes from understanding how to improve, and the teacher’s belief that students can do this is an important factor.

Terry Heaney also acknowledges the opportunity to build connection with students through the use of feedback. This is especially helpful for teachers during distance learning because there are fewer opportunities to build connections with students when learning does not take place face-to-face. The strategies shared in this article are quick, easy to implement, and will help teachers to motivate their students.

Works Cited:

Heaney, T. (n.d.). Motivating Through Feedback. Retrieved June 9, 2020, from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol5/504-heaney.aspx

 

Before Reading:

  • How have you seen your students react to receiving a grade on an assignment?
  • How have you provided feedback in a distance learning setting?

 

Motivating Through Feedback

Terry Heaney

Educators are not confused about the need to motivate our students. We can easily acknowledge that a motivated student will engage, persist, and produce results that are superior to students who are not motivated. However, it is just as clear that in working with older students who are struggling in school, we face significant challenges in building on their intrinsic motivation to learn. Students with a history of negative outcomes may be more resistant to motivational overtures. Although educators are considering many new approaches, a growing body of research suggests that we can motivate our students more directly with a thoughtful approach to providing feedback on assignments and tests. 

For many students, the return of a test or assignment is the moment they dread the most. It is at that instant that we have their undivided attention and the opportunity to motivate them further. The nature of our feedback on tests and assignments and the way we direct future efforts can motivate students to keep up their personal fight to learn. Feedback provides a tangible, regular opportunity to build a connection with our students. The following practical feedback strategies help motivate students. 

  • How does feedback help build connection with our students?

 

Consider using written feedback. 

It should come as no surprise that students are very focused on the grade they receive on assignments, and the growing use of rubrics and bubble sheets has emphasized the bottom line, as opposed to how it was reached. Written feedback that is more diagnostic and directive encourages students to revisit specific errors in thinking. This type of information-oriented feedback leads to greater intrinsic motivation, task engagement, and persistence in completing tasks (Bruning, Schraw, Norby, & Ronning, 2004). 

When we take the time to focus student attention on ways to improve, we are saying that we believe in their ability to develop beyond the stated mark. Written comments are also private and allow students to digest your suggestions without the defensive response that can result from a public discussion. 

  • What are the benefits of using written feedback?

 

Rethink your approach to handling errors. 

There is great value in allowing students to redo assignments and make corrections. By doing so, we are acknowledging the process of learning and not just the product. Students have the chance to practice the suggested approaches, refocus on key concepts, and receive praise for correcting errors. This can positively affect students' understanding as well as their self-efficacy beliefs. If we see errors as opportunities to learn, students will be more likely to see them in the same light. 

  • How do you think your students view errors? How can you help students see errors are an opportunity to learn?

 

Try using green ink instead of red. 

Research has shown that the color red has negative connotations, both in and out of school. One study showed that the use of red, even in labeling a test, resulted in a 10 percent drop in scores (Science Netlinks, 2007). The explanation is found in avoidance motivation: rather than trying to be successful, subjects were selecting answers to avoid mistakes. With this understanding of the emotive nature of the color red, it seems that using any other color would help students actually read the comments we take the time to write. Using green is a subtle way of saying that hope for forward movement and growth still exists. 

  • What negative connotations about grading do you think students bring to your classroom?
  • How could you help change these negative connotations?

 

When patterns start to emerge, include your students in setting achievable goals. 

Talking with your students about setting specific, short-term goals to improve the kinds of errors they are making strengthens the connection between you and each student, clearly demonstrates that you see them as capable of improvement, and involves them directly in their own learning outcomes. Too often, the goals outlined in individualized education programs or other long-term planning documents are just too far in the future to seem relevant and are created without the involvement of the person they are meant to benefit—the student. 

 What is the role of goal setting in student motivation?

These strategies build motivation by focusing on an activity every teacher already does and not on budget allocations or new approaches. Each of these feedback strategies builds a stronger relationship with the student, clearly communicating belief in that student's ability. Acknowledging the effect that our feedback can have on students shifts our thinking as well. Motivating our students becomes an authentic, regular experience that allows us to use their efforts as the vehicle. In this sense, motivating students to learn becomes something we do with them instead of to them.


References

Bruning, R., Schraw, G., Norby, M., & Ronning, R. (2004). Cognitive psychology and instruction (4th ed.) Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education Inc.

Science NetLinks. (2007). Seeing red. Retrieved from http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/sci_update.php?DocID=323

http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/images/siteASCD/siteelements/dotted_rule.jpg

Terry Heaney is a Learning Strategies teacher at Calgary Academy in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The academy specializes in helping students with learning challenges.

  • How could you change your feedback in a remote classroom to increase student motivation?
  • What is the correlation of students knowing the goal they need to reach and student motivation?

  • Read this quote from the article:  “In this sense, motivating students to learn becomes something we do with them instead of to them.” How can you change your practices to motivate students with them?

 

Best Practices for Grading in a Remote Classroom

  • Follow all grading policies as directed by your school/ district
  • Grading should happen with the same frequency and consistency as it would in a traditional classroom setting
  • Clearly and frequently communicate all graded assignments, deadlines, and expectations
  • Your school or district may consider a 3 tiered deadline model for graded assignments
    • 1: initial deadline
    • 2: 2nd deadline within 1 week from original assignment where students can implement feedback
    • 3: 3rd deadline at the end of that marking period where students can implement feedback or turn in missed assignments
  • If grades decline, or are persistently low, teachers should reach out to student and family (at least three times or until there is a response leading to action) to offer additional assistance during office hours or in a small group as part of usual class periods.

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