Time effective strategies to make sure that feedback always leads to learning
I ran an inset today with a colleague about giving ‘Feedback with Impact’. We deliberately avoided the word ‘marking’ because there are so many ways to communicate with pupils about their learning. We wanted to focus on ‘Impact’ because feedback is only worthwhile if it leads to learning. We started by presenting some evidence into effective feedback. The full slides are linked below, but the basic messages are:
- If it doesn’t have an impact on learning, stop doing it!
- Think carefully about when in the learning process to use teacher feedback – it is probably your most valuable tool, but also costly in terms of time input.
- Use a full range of strategies to make sure the responsibility for learning is put back on the pupil.
The main part of the inset involved sharing a number of strategies to reduce teacher workload and maximise learning. These are explained below.
- Feedback stickers. These are brief summaries of learning which pupils stick into their books and RAG rate. They can contain questions that the teacher knows, based on their marking, will extend learning. Some examples from Maths in ppt.
- DIRT Proforma. Many departments have developed templates to save time giving feedback and provide structure to pupils’ responses. Not revolutionary but important to stop everybody reinventing the wheel.
- Live Marking / 5 Minute Flick / Gallery Critique – These are a range of strategies for marking whilst the pupils work. The idea behind this is to pick up misconceptions early, adapt teaching and give pupils time to develop their work before handing it in. The aim is to avoid marking a whole class set of books with the same errors!
- Dot Round – as above, a live marking technique. Circulate the class and place a dot next to anything the pupil needs to look at again. Simple but effective strategy alongside other methods of feedback.
- Feedback Codebreaker – a version of ‘symbol marking’ where the teacher creates a feedback code that pupils have to crack. Quick to mark, but the resultant task is engaging, challenging and productive. Example and photos of pupil outcomes in the PowerPoint.
- Think Pink, Go Green! Simply highlight in pink what pupils need to improve and green what pupils have done well. They improve the pink bits (in purple pen?) and label the green bits to identify what they have done well.
- Whole Class Feedback – Read the books but make notes on a separate page. Resist the temptation to mark them! Give the class a page of printed feedback detailing common misconceptions, areas for improvement and strengths. Pupils then annotate their own work in a different colour and redraft a part of it. Examples from the English department in the ppt.
- Planning for marking – not so much a strategy as a way of doing things, but–as above–think carefully about when teacher marking is most helpful. Perhaps you will begin in a unit by using more peer and self-assessment or live marking techniques to correct misconceptions. Whole class feedback also works really well earlier on. Pick the moments that detailed teacher feedback is likely to have the most impact!
As always, it’s about getting maximum learning gains whilst minimising the time spent hunched over piles of exercise books! I hope that you’ve found some of these ideas useful – please comment below if you have other strategies to share!