Recently I attended a seminar as professional development in our district with assessment guru Ken O’Connor focusing on Assessment for Learning. The entire district is re-vamping it’s grading philosophy, and as the content facilitator I was included in on the conversation. O’Connor suggested that student learning will improve if teacher feedback is comments based, versus grading based. I can’t get this out of my head!
Let’s learn more:
His research, along with the ideas of Dylan Wiliam, suggests that good assessment is all about encouraging students to reflect on their current performance. The best way to do this is for the teacher to give qualitative feedback or comment-only marking.
Research showed that when students were given a grade only, it had 0% impact on their future performance as a reflective learner.
When students were given both a grade and a comment, the grade overshadowed the comment and had 0% impact on future performance as a reflective learner.
But….when students were given COMMENTS ONLY, future performance increased by 30%
What does this boil down to? Basically students ignore the grades we give them! They see them as definitive. However, when teachers give constructive feedback, comments for suggestion, and positive reflections to students in written form, they are far more likely to take that information and use it constructively in the future to improve. Think of our own professional development. If the instructor never gave us any personal comments or suggestions on our work, and we only saw the final grade at the end, we wouldn’t necessarily feel as though we went through any kind of learning or transformative process. The same goes for our students. This is why I give personal feedback to every student on every assignment in my online classes. It matters to students that much!
If this research holds true, it’s pretty powerful. SO…. What does that mean for art teachers like ourselves, who may see 500 plus students in one week? I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out how I can make this best practice work, and have a few goals in mind for the school year that I’ll be sharing with you along the way.
Until then, Here are some articles to get you started if you are interested in learning more about comment only marking and the value of teacher and peer feedback:
Making Written Feedback Effective by Teaching Expertise
7 Ways to Respond to Student’s Creative Work by Arts Edge
Successful Class Art Critique by Marvin Bartel
And this- which totally defeats the purpose of authentic teacher feedback- a comment bank for teachers to go and copy and paste in comments to students – You can search by subject matter. Admit it, we’ve all used a comment bank inserted into online grading programs, myself included. Teachers Report Assistant Comment Bank by Ray’s Learning. Thoughts?
Do you share student grades on each piece of artwork with the student?
Do you use comments as feedback to students?
How do you find time to give feedback to students in the art room setting?