|The Quickest Feedback You Can Get, via Frank|
(The obvious questions is, can't the post wait? That's a good question.)
What makes for good feedback on a quiz?
The most common answer around the internet is that it all has to do with timing. Immediate, personal feedback is the best, and we should take steps to shrink the amount of time between an assessment and our input. I totally subscribed to this approach for a few years. Frank's brilliant management system made it possible for me to pull this off in my classes.
Lately, I've been questioning the assumption that the best feedback is immediate. For one, there's a sort of emotional investment that a kid has with a quiz right after they've finished it. A lot of the kids who checked their quizzes right after they finished had this sort of "I got this wrong? WHY?????" reaction that I didn't love.
I also suspect that there are learning benefits to delaying the feedback on a task a day or two. Delayed exposure to ideas, and all that.
And the other thing is that, realistically, the only way to pull this off is for kids to be all on their own with an answer key. Maybe you guys are better at making answer keys than I am, but I wasn't sure how much my kids were getting out of them. What they really wanted was a conversation about the problems, but I couldn't give the kids that conversation because their classmates were still taking the quiz.
(Actually, I'm sure you guys are better at making answer keys than I am because I always end up hastily scribbling them on my way down to the photocopier machine.)
(I've just blown past my 7 minute deadline. We're up to 11 minutes now. Oh dear.)
In short, I wanted to give my kids feedback with a little bit of a delay, but not too long of a delay. I wanted kids to be able to reflect on their own work, but I wanted it to be social.
Here's what I do now:
- Kids take quizzes on Friday.
- I collect them, photocopy them, take notes and make grades. Digitally scan them for reference.
- Kids get back their originals on Monday with no notes on them from me. They get back what they handed in.
- They get into groups, go over their quizzes together, iron out any differences or disagreements. I always make my quizzes a little bit on the long side, so there's usually a question or two they didn't get to on Friday that they can work on if they finish.
- I have notes about areas of concern. I check in on kids who I had flagged for a conversation. I ask groups questions if there's a disagreement that they're not seeing yet. I'll ask the whole class questions if there are problems with widespread errors.
And the only part of this that I lied about is the part about giving grades, since I'm currently teaching at a school that doesn't give grades. But that's how I would've graded them, if I had to.
It's entirely possible that this system wouldn't work in a place where grades were given, like where I'd been teaching before this year. Kids would probably go nuts not knowing what their grades were. I'm optimistic that, with enough time, I could have convinced them that this way was better, but dunno.
If you try this, let me know how it goes!
(Clocking in at 19 minutes. Gah!)