Do your students tick the boxes on the success criteria without reading it?
Do students read the comments you write?
See below for strategies I now use for supporting students to engage with feedback:
Cool and Warm comments: peer and self assessment
- Self Assess: At the end of a piece of work, before I provide written feedback, students write a cool or warm comment for themselves. A warm comment is what they have done well and a cool comment is what they need to improve on for next time. When marking, this gives me and idea of whether students are aware of how their work could be improved and provides students the opportunity to reflect and think critically about the success criteria.
- Peer Assess: At the end of a formative piece of work, students might read their work to a peer, who provides a cool or warm comment verbally.
- I will then call on some students to share.
- “Who can tell me a warm comment they gave to their partner?”
- “Who can share their cool comment for what they will improve on next time?” I never get students to share a cool comment for a peer in front of the class, as I don’t want them to be embarrassed. Students are always willing to share self-assessment for how they will improve (cool comment).
Reading Teacher Comments
- I also give feedback in the form of cool and warm comments. When students get their work back with comments, they read the feedback and then read it to the person they are sitting next to. Students need to know what the feedback is, as I will ask some students to share what they have done well (warm) and what they will improve on for next time (cool).
Checklists and/or Rubrics
- When starting a piece of work (particularly writing), students get a checklist. We read through the task and success criteria together, and students highlight or underline key words.
- At the end of the work, we read through one dot point at a time. Students must identify the part of the criteria, for example
- “Point to your title, point to your introduction, point to argument 1, argument 2, argument 3 and conclusion.” Students then only tick the ‘text organisation’ box if they had all of these parts.
- For language feature such as conjunctions, students go through and underline the conjunctions in their writing. Students have underlined conjunctions in the examples below.
***Note: My marking coding includes WOW words highlighted in yellow, and 3 main misspellings underlined in an orange highlighter.
Setting up Cool and Warm Comments
- Students sorted sentence starters into ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ comments. We also discussed ‘unhelpful comments’ which could be unkind, or unspecific praise, eg. ‘Your work is bad’, or ‘You have good writing’. Neither of these comments are helpful.
- Students practised using these comments to provide feedback on given pieces of work. For these samples, I photocopied some Reception/Year 1 work (my students were Year 3s). I did this so students had practice being supportive towards the person receiving the feedback, and it gave students practice identifying positives in work that was below their year level standard.
- Have a display in the class, so students have a reminder of sentence starters and things to remember when giving feedback, including “Tough on the content, Kind to the person” and “We are committed to challenging each other.”
- Students are reflecting and thinking critically
- They are participating in a learning community and supporting each other.
- ‘Lower’ ability students become more confident as they know ALL students have done something well and have something they can improve on. They gain confidence by identifying positives about their own work, and also have peers providing positive, genuine, specific feedback.
- ‘Higher’ ability students are motivated, as they have a goal they are working towards for next time.
Video that shows the benefits of feedback