Sunday, February 21, 2016


Our school's focus is on "feedback".

This is now a dreaded word in my school.  Even the AP is tired of meetings around this topic.  It doesn't even apply to the EOG in my state, it only applies to writing.

We have the students complete the "writing task" (no longer a prompt, essay, or paper), and are supposed to grade it using the state rubric and give feedback in the final product.  

Here's the problem: I don't think that the final product is the only time you should give feedback.  Feedback is a process, not a destination or merely part of the outcome.  So, when the district admin ask for our quarterly writing folders, we (all social studies, science, math, and language arts teachers) supply high, medium, and low examples of student writing (three of each, btw).

Then, we get the lecture that our feedback is not good enough, even though we have all spent time responding to the student writing samples, making corrections, assessing, and giving feedback according to the rubric and task.  

If admin wants to see quality feedback, they need to observe the process of the writing task.  I love using Google Docs with students because I can comment on anything at any time, students can make corrections as they go (not wait until the end), AND anyone with access to the Doc can "see revision history" to see how the student has edited and revised due to the feedback of peers and teachers.

As you can see, Students have gone through an entire thought process before they turn in their final product.  Feedback has to be integrated into the process, and as my colleague said during our last PLC, "We don't need to be comparing apples and oranges (narratives to argumentative pieces to research pieces to expository pieces).  We need to compare apples to apples: compare the student's journey from year to year as they write narratives.  How does their writing evolve over time?  That's where they need the feedback!  You made the same mistakes last year and the year before.  This is what you need to focus on."  Amen, sister, Amen.

Feedback: a process, NOT a final destination.