Feedback That Causes Thinking

I love the book Zoom by Istvan Banyai:

Each page invites the reader to consider more of the picture.  Each page invites the reader into a broader context.  Each picture stretches the mind of the reader to see more, to understand more.

Maybe this is a good way to look at the feedback that is being given in our classrooms.

Dylan Wiliam advocates for task-driven feedback that “causes thinking”.  What does that look like in a classroom?

On page 130 of his book Embedded Formative Assessment Wiliam tells the story of a high school language arts teacher and her innovative approach to feedback:

“Charlotte Kerrigan, a language arts teacher, had been giving only comments to her students for a while but was still unhappy with the amount of attention the students were giving to her comments, so she made a small but extremely powerful change in the way she provided feedback.  Her tenth-grade class had just completed essays on a Shakespeare play they had been studying.  Kerrigan collected the essays, and instead of writing her comments in the students’ notebooks, she did so on strips of paper.  Each group of four students received their four essays and the four strips of paper, and the group had to decide which comment belonged to which essay.”

Ms. Kerrigan’s small tweak made students look deeper into their learning. It made them start flipping through their work in the same way that a reader might flip through the pages of Zoom.  By asking her students to match feedback to assignments, she asked them to consider their learning on a deeper level.  She invited them to truly think about their work.  

Imagine if she then gave them an opportunity to fix-up and re-submit their work?!

I’m wondering if anyone has similar small tweaks that can be made to traditional assessments.  Tweaks that make feedback a process where, as Wiliam would say, “the recipient does more work than the donor”.

Any ideas?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s