Evaluate: Quality Feedback Quest

posted May 23, 2016, 8:44 AM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated May 23, 2016, 10:41 AM ]
This assignment (pg.27-28)  is my AP Environmental Science students' first foray into the critical thinking and experimental design that is necessary in science.  The lab report is also one of the first times they've been asked to write scientifically.  and we discuss how to write scientifically, we look at scientific papers as style and formatting examples, and we "write" an example scientific lab report as a class.  They submit these lab reports online and I comment on them.  This first lab report is especially important because it sets the stage for all future lab reports.  If I let something slide in this first lab report, they will continue to make those mistakes in the future.  Below is a lab report with my written feedback:

There are a few best practices (as stated in the quest) that can be evidenced in my feedback on this assignment:
  1. Customized feedback is provided that is not only encouraging, but propels the student to strive for better performance or for deeper thought and application
    • The feedback for this assignment is directly tailored to the student and what he or she did or did not do on the assignment.  I remind the student of sample works we looked at as a class and for certain items asked the student, "What makes you think this?" or "Why did you do this?"  Hopefully, this prompted the student to look at their work and think and provide justification for why they wrote what they wrote.  This is especially important in AP Environmental Science because the FRQs (written responses) on the AP exam often ask students to EXPLAIN or DESCRIBE and they often just IDENTIFY and I have to ask "why?"  Hopefully, my comments on this assignment at the beginning of the year help the students to start explaining "why" they write what they write in my class.  Additionally, providing the WHY often gets the students to think about what they are doing/writing on a deeper level.
  2. Student data drives the feedback provided as individual feedback, as well as the class as a whole
    • This particular assignment has feedback on what this particular student needs to work on.  When grading all assignments from all students, I can get a clear picture of what we need to talk about as a group.  For example, students often IDENTIFY and not DESCRIBE or EXPLAIN in assignments such as this one.  Since this is such an important skill to have as a scientist and as an AP Environmental Science student, we often spend some class time after this assignment working on DESCRIBING and EXPLAINING.  By looking at each student's work individually but also making notes on how the class is doing as a whole, I can use this data to reteach or spend extra time on a concept that the entire (or most) of the class is struggling with.
  3. Teacher is not only assessing current progress on individual items, but is also analyzing each student’s continuous progress from grade item to grade item and communicates the progress to all stakeholders
    • Because this is the first writing assignment that we do during the year, the feedback provided doesn't show continuity from assignment to assignment, but I make note of what concept or item the students are struggling with and in the next assignment, check to see if they are following my advice/feedback and whether their next assignment reflects that.  If so, that means they are taking the feedback in and using it to inform their next assignment.  If not, that could be because they ignored my previous feedback or still do not understand the concept.  Either way, I need to address the misconception.
  4. Instructor clearly strives to assist students meet and exceed expectations and considers feedback as the cornerstone of that success.
    • I work very hard to make sure my students have the feedback necessary to progress in their learning.  Whether it is written feedback like the feedback shown on this assignment, or verbal/written feedback by going over quizzes with my students, or simply just directing my students to a useful resource or affirming that they are doing the work correctly (I have so many students that just want me to watch them work so I can affirm that they are doing the problem correctly), it is important to me that I deliver timely feedback.