Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Importance of Feedback in Assessment

“The most powerful single innovation that enhances achievement is feedback. The simplest prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops’ of feedback.” 
-John Hattie

Guest Blogger Kimberly Kindred (Assistant Principal, Coppell Middle School North) writes:

TOP TEN Reasons to use Feedback in Assessments

Number #10: It allows for opportunities for re-teaching. You will be able to see EXACTLY where learners are with formative assessments and provide opportunities for re-teach when a learner has struggled with a topic.

Number #9: It serves as a personal conference with the learner. When you take the time to provide individual, personal feedback to students that is very specific, it naturally lends itself to being a personal conference. SN: Personal conferences are also a huge intervention strategy used with our struggling learners.

Number #8: You will only give a test because you HAVE TO, not because you need to. You will know where every learner falls on every topic, in all your classes.

Number #7: EMPOWERMENT! Yes, let’s empower learners and allow them to see what they know and don’t know. Make their learning personal, specific to them!

Number #6: And after empowerment comes enrichment opportunities. After learners are able to see what they do and don’t know, allow them other avenues to get the information that they missed. Put them in the driver’s seat!

Number #5: It helps you track learner growth over content, the process in which they learn, or the products in which they produce. Tracking learner growth will enable you to see strengths and weaknesses of each learner.

Number #4: It allows for personal educator growth. By allowing learners to process feedback, from you, and assess their own learning, you will be able to make adjustments within your own process of teaching. It lends to a self-reflection after meeting and discussing with students.  You may begin to ask yourself such questions as: Was this explained clearly? Could there have been another way for me to present this information? Why are most learners struggling with this particular concept?

Number #3: Parents appreciate the consistent feedback. Instead of remembering how someone did at the end of a unit, you will have check marks all throughout that you can refer back to.

Number #2: You will gain a better understanding of how your learners process the material. It could help with unit/classroom design of future projects.

Number #1: It makes learners MORE successful in the long run! And that is why we all teach; for the students. What matters MOST is learner success, and feedback in assessments, formative and summative, is a great start!

How do you give constructive feedback to your learners?
What changes are taking place as a result of the constructive feedback?


  1. By secondary level, our most severe struggling readers have thrown in the towel. These are the students I work with daily. Through trial and error, I‘ve found that it is well-worth the time and energy to let students see their own data, set realistic goals, and then empower the student to monitor their own progress. I avoid using report card grades as a measure, since they are often skewed, especially with students who are passing only because of interventions. However, personal approaches like reading/writing conferences, and shared google docs to add comments, have been the most effective. I’ve also learned “constructive” feedback means giving the student the tools to equip them for success versus shout-outs which can be overused and diluted after so many years. As a direct result of constructive feedback, I’ve seen students learn to self-advocate when they don’t understand and ask for a concept to be retaught to them. After eight years, I’ve seen a direct correlation between student self-advocacy and student achievement at the middle school level.

  2. You have so many good points, I am not sure what to comment on. :) I think you are right on point about constructive feedback being used as shout-outs which are not nearly as powerful as constructive feedback could be. The idea that quality feedback can lead to self-advocacy is awesome. Of course those things are correlated; but that is something we easily forget!

  3. I love this: "it is well-worth the time and energy to let students see their own data, set realistic goals, and then empower the student to monitor their own progress." These are life long skills and so important. When we model effective feedback and then help our learners understand what to do with it, we are empowering them to take ownership of their learning.