I have been considering Fern’s last post – she really DID give me something to think about. Communicating constructive feedback certainly is critical but poses challenges when considering “how” and “when.” I know myself I gather a lot of informal data on how to proceed with the class or individuals but often don’t communicate the “next steps” to the students. I did a better job in addressing this challenge when I started guided math and conferencing. I noticed that many have blogged about videotaping in math. Maybe videos have a unique opportunity in encouraging students to think about their learning or defining “next steps.”

How are you communicating the information you glean from formative assessment back to your students?

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Last week I did a whiteboard whole class check in (inspired by Nicole!). After we had answered the questions, I told the class what I had learned from their answers. I told them that I had learned that they knew the difference between repeating and increasing patterns, they could identify the core in patterns and talk about the attributes, and I also learned that one thing we still needed more practice with was describing how increasing patterns grow. While I didn’t tell each student individually, it did allow the class a sense of what I was looking for, and what we were going to do next. I think that guided sessions provide the best opportunity to individually discuss successes and next steps.

I’m looking for new ways to deliver student feedback. In the past I have tried several methods such as written or oral comments and formal/informal student conferencing. If anybody has any suggestions or ideas I would love to try them out.

A few years ago I started communicating to students what they needed to work on by posting a list of activities and put their name under the practice activity. We kept it positive and everyone had SOMETHING to work on. I called it, “target practice”. During independent work times, they worked on those activities and then demonstrated their progress during small group guided math.- Nicole

This book has me thinking a lot!! (Possibly too much lol) I find myself doing more frequent check in’s (via activities on small white boards, games, exit slips, quizzes,etc.) From this, i can tell who needs help and am sure to work with those students in their guided math sessions to explain they need work in those areas. Like you Nicole, I often tell them that the “tests” and such are to show me what I have to practice with them and where to go next. I don’t single them out but will say it seems we should review or practice numbers in the hundred thousands place (for example).

Shawn, something I recently found on pinterest I intend to try is a red/yellow/green stoplight which is posted on the door. After a concept is presented, I will ask them to place a post it on the color they feel (red means they don’t get it..yellow means they kinda get it.. green means good to go 🙂 This way they are anonymous and it guides me in a quick, effective non-intrusive way. I haven’t tried this yet but intend to next week. Will keep ya posted.

Great suggestion! I love that idea!

After I have observed students work independantly or in pairs or groups or after I have sat through math interviews with students, I will often tell students as a whole class that “doing this has shown me that we need to work on …”. I don’t ever single students out and I’m not sure I even would individually, either at this point. It’s important to me that they have a positive attitude towards math. If I did point out something in particular that students had to work on, I love Nicole’s idea of “target practice” and that everyone has something that they can be working on to improve.

Tanya

Great ideas! It is important that objectives are communicated when students are learning a concept and that feedback is detailed enough so the student understands what they already know, where they need to go, and how they are going to get there. Interviews, debriefings, portfolios, journals, self assessments, peer assessments, rubrics, etc are all good ways to communicate feedback. Providing timely feedback and moving away from the general “good, more work needed, poor” comments and providing more specific target driven comments is essential. Math is developmental and it is important for teachers to know where students are and how to move them to the next level (some good resources are PRIME and FSiM). If anyone is interested in me going through the PRIME resource send me an email. I believe the school has a copy that teachers could use.

Also, it is just as important that STUDENTS know where they are in their mathematical understanding and what THEY need to do to get to the desired target 🙂