The first sentence that caught my eye in "How Am I Doing?" is "Her paper did not tell her what she was good at or what she needed to keep working on—the marks did not function as effective feedback." I know students get nothing from the papers I return to them other than a grade. In my mind, feedback has to happen way before I take up a paper ... and when I do take one up, it's usually a summative activity. If students want to make corrections or work on that same assignment I invite them to tutorials, and we talk through their errors.
The next thought that I've been pondering this afternoon is this, "Absent a learning target, students will believe that the goal is to complete the activity." Learning targets are huge in our school. In fact we not only have targets but also criteria for success! When I joined this school I was familiar with learning targets - I was ready to roll. And then I heard all the talk about criteria for success and I felt like I was starting over. Once I got the hang of it, it made sense to me. So ... the learning target on Monday is, "I can solve equations with rational expressions." The criteria for success include:
- Find a common denominator for every fraction in the equation.
- Multiply every term in the equation by the common denominator.
- Simplify the equation (distribute and combine like terms where necessary)
- Solve the simplified equation.
- Check the solution to determine if it works or if it is extraneous.
Two other thoughts caught my attention in this article ... Effective feedback occurs during the learning, while there is still time to act on it. And, Effective feedback does not do the thinking for the student.
I can't wait until test day to give feedback. Students need feedback while they are learning the math skills. And when I give feedback, I can't do the work for them. I have a bad habit of taking a student's pencil in my hand and writing the next step or two. I know this is not good. It's better if I have an EXPO marker in my hand, write something on their desk - that will help them figure out the next step on their own if my questions are enough to lead them there.
I wish there was a good article or book on feedback specifically in math class. Suggestions???