Feedback and Environment?

This week in Assessment and Evaluation (ECS 410) we discussed and reflected on the assigned readings from Anne Davies’ book. Davies explores the process of establishing the foundations for assessment, and understanding what assessment can look like. Most interestingly, for me, she writes about the importance of involving students in shaping their learning, through thorough discussion of assessment goals and practicing tasks and assignments multiple times before evaluation. Question: Given time and resource restraints, what does this look like in a real setting?

Davies points to self-assessment and peer-assessment as vital opportunities for students to further their learning, and an incredible resource for teachers to include assessment without being overcome with papers or projects to read and critique. She describes a repeating loop of feedback that can be more effective with more feedback. When studentsloops2 understand how to give good, descriptive feedback, and also understand what to do with feedback they receive, then assessment becomes part of the learning process, rather than the teacher’s role. Question: What steps would a teacher have to take to teach ‘good feedback’ and descriptive critiquing to students?

“Self-assessment gives learners the opportunity to think about their thinking and their learning — a process called metacognition.” (Davies, 2011)

I would describe myself as a fairly creative person, so I like to let my mind wonder and dream about my future as a teacher. This week I continued to picture the design of my future classroom. Davies wrote that “building a classroom environment that supports learning involves finding out who your students are, and letting them find out who you are…” (2011, 25). Although I cannot know who my students are until I meet them, I started imagining the community I would want my classroom to represent. Imagine a room where students, and myself, furnish and decorate with items that support that community feelings. I have seen Instagram and Pinterest posts that show beanbag chairs and other comfy corners, but they are often focused to early years classrooms. Q: What happens to students in High School that makes us think they don’t need stimulation from their surroundings? I picture a room with flexible seating, music in the background, tables and desks for those who want them. I want students to feel at home learning in my classroom, through my teaching and through the environment we create.

Weekly Readings:

  • Chapter 1: Making Classroom Assessment Work (Davies)
  • Chapter 2: Building the Foundation for Classroom Assessment (Davies)
  • Chapter 11: Learning by Ourselves, and With Others (Davies)
  • Formative Assessment in Seven Good Moves (Duckor)

One thought on “Feedback and Environment?

  1. Nerdodactyl says:

    Hey Emily,

    Great post is was pretty entertaining to read and I liked that you included pictures! I’ll have to take some notes for when I go back to fix up some of mine. Anyway I’m going to do my best to answer the questions you posed in your post.
    Q1:”Given time and resource restraints, what does this look like in a real setting?”

    I think that applying what you were talking about would involve nurturing the concept of ‘not yet’ in your class. Last semester I saw a Ted talk by Carol Dweck ( ) and it really changed how I saw failure and assessment. She poses the idea of instead of giving a failing grade on something like a student just giving them ‘not yet’ will do more for them because it shows they can still get there and achieve the learning goals. It’s part of nurturing a growth mindset and the loop of feedback assists in the process of constant growth. Looking at the pictures you put in your post I was really drawn to the one with the bulletin board for exit slips, it’s a really good idea but I think the small change of making the “nope!” folder say “Not yet” that way the message being sent is “I don’t get it yet” instead of “I don’t get it.” it also better assists with encouraging a growth mindset.

    Q2: “What steps would a teacher have to take to teach ‘good feedback’ and descriptive critiquing to students?”

    Like I said for the previous question, nurturing a growth mindset in students is key, and teaching them how to give constructive criticism is a life skill they will need especially if they will be moving into any kind of work force. Encouraging and enforcing the classroom as a safe space where only opinions will be questioned and challenged, not the people that hold those opinions, is something I think is really important. Students need to feel that it is safe to voice what ever their opinion is and to know that they will not be judged or ridiculed for it but their opinion could become a central point in a discussion. There is also a part that involves introducing students to the appropriate language and terms they should be using when giving criticism, it isn’t enough to just say ‘this needs to be changed’ or ‘this is bad’ , they need to be able to explain why and if possible offer a suggestion as to how that change can be made.

    Q3: “What happens to students in High School that makes us think they don’t need stimulation from their surroundings?”

    This is a really important thing to point out, while it might seem childish to have something like a bulletin board showcasing student work high school students love being praised and if there is a chance for there work to be put on display I’m willing to be they would put in more effort just for the chance to receive praise from their peers. High school students are also the most likely students to compare school to something like a prison sentence because they also get fewer breaks than younger students even though high school students could still benefit from increased opportunities for physical activity. A lot of high school students are often written off as having ‘short attention spans’ , often being blamed on too much exposure to the internet and their cell phones.I would argue that it isn’t that they have short attention spans, it is that they are actively seeking stimulation because their brains crave it and need to be stimulated especially if they are going to engage in learning.

    I’d love to hear what you have to say in response to my answers to your questions!


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