Whole Class Feedback Made by Mike Gershon – [email_address]
Contents Introduction Rationale Further Reading 25 ideas for whole class feedback: Post-It Notes Mini-Whiteboards Exit Pass True-False Cards ABCD Cards Thumbs Traffic Lights Stand-Crouch-Sit Post-It Divider Continuum Partnering Whiteboard Words Voting Pods Question? Answer Objectives Random Feedback Txt Msg Play-Doh Silent Debate Evaluation Tree Smiley Faces Muddiest Point Seed to Tree Forum Fingers
Introduction Back to Contents Whole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). It is a means to assess the understanding of all students in a way that is efficient and time effective. ‘ Whole class feedback’ refers to any method which allows the teacher to gain information concerning the knowledge and understanding of all the students in a class. Further in this document there are twenty-five examples of such methods. A concern sometimes raised by teachers is that whole class feedback can make teaching and learning somewhat mechanical, whereby the transmission of knowledge is prized above critical and creative thinking. Certainly the techniques have the potential to be used in this way, however their non-prescriptive nature means the teacher is always in control of how students engage with them. A second fear for some teachers is that whole class feedback may lead to a heavier workload in an already time-consuming job, with mountains of feedback needing to be sifted through. Precise and considered use of the techniques eliminates these worries; good planning on behalf of the teacher affords a deep understanding of where students are at without increasing workload. The techniques explained below have frequently helped teachers to ‘work smarter’, allowing them to deal with misconceptions on-the-go and en masse. Many also enable peers to aid one another’s learning, decreasing reliance on the teacher and increasing awareness of the learning process.
Rationale Back to Contents Whole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). As such, the rationale concerns AfL as a whole, of which whole class feedback is a part. This is a précis built on the evidence contained in the further reading detailed on the following page. Assessment for learning differs from assessment of learning as coaching differs from a fitness test. Assessment for learning involves the teacher and student becoming aware of how learning can be improved, how technique can be better mastered, how knowledge and understanding can accord more closely with reason, logic, that which is already known; how the gap can be closed between where the student is and where the teacher, curriculum, school can help them to get. Assessment of learning tests what a student knows. The first is formative, the latter summative. The first informs, the latter sums up. The first is open and cumulative, the latter is closed and definitive. “ Assessment for Learning (AfL) means using evidence and dialogue to identify where pupils are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.” (http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/research/themes/assessment_for_learning/) Assessment for learning, embedded in teaching, improves pupil attainment. Many teachers do it without calling it by such a moniker; all teachers, at all levels and in all subjects are able to do it. By no means is it reserved for the few or applicable only in specific situations.
Further Reading Back to Contents Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice, Paul Black, Chris Harrison, Clare Lee, Bethan Marshall, Dylan Wiliam This book sums up the extensive research review on which the assertions concerning AfL are made. It details how formative assessment can improve pupils’ learning and has a series of case studies from English schools. It is practical, realistic and explicitly tied to the classroom. Black Box Subject Series, Paul Black, Christine Harrison, Bethan Marshall & Dylan Wiliam (eds.) These booklets precede the book. They include subject specific guidance on how to work with AfL. ‘ Inside the Black Box’ and ‘Working Inside the Black Box’ are general guides. All are available cheaply at http://shop.gl-assessment.co.uk/home.php?cat=383 http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/assessment_for_learning/training/AfL-Guidance-KS12.pdf Ostensibly for Key Stage 1 and 2, this Northern Ireland Curriculum document offers an excellent introduction to AfL. There is also sound advice and examples on how to use it in the classroom. A reading list far in excess of this one is included.
Ask students to show you with their thumbs how well they feel they understand the work.
It may be useful to have a display or key such as…
Back to Contents I feel confident with the work and could explain it to someone else. I understand some of the work, but still have questions or am unsure. I do not feel happy that I understand what we are doing. I would like more help.
Ask students to come and stand on a continuum indicating where they are at from ‘Understand and can explain’ to ‘Need more help to get to grips with it’.
If you feel students may be uneasy about standing where they want to, you could use post-its with names on or totally blank (you’ll still get an idea of where the class are at).
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Partnering Hand out half question cards and half answer cards. Students must then match themselves up in silence. Develop by having a third questions and two thirds answers, with two answers being correct for every one question; sticking questions and answers on students’ backs; questions find questions that lead to the same answer and answers find answers that could be from the same question Back to Contents Follow up by questioning or peer assessment
Here’s a variation on the mini-whiteboard theme. Give students a limited number of words with which to explain the key points of the lesson or ask them to identify the most important piece of learning.
The results may allow you to judge in what directions pupils are taking their learning and how everyone is interacting with the concepts and ideas.
Voting pods allow students to input their answers to the computer, these then being accessible on an interactive whiteboard.
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Question? Answer Put a question on the board and have different answers around the room. Students go to the one they think is right and justify their decision. Make this easier by having A,B,C,D points or posters in your room. Then you can have the answers on the board as well to save faffing. Develop by getting one member from each answer area to try and convince the others that their answer is right (good for encourage use of reason and uncovering of fallacy, misconceived reasoning etc.) Back to Contents
Objective Traffic Lights How do you feel about the lesson objectives? Red = don’t think I have grasped this Amber = feeling OK about this, have just about got there Green = Confident I have achieved this Back to Contents Being specific to the lesson objectives is an alternative way of using the traffic light technique. It sacrifices an holistic, qualitative assessment for a precise, quantitative one.
Random Feedback Use dice, short straws, roulette wheel, tombola, guess the number of sweets in the jar, to pick a group (or two) at random to feedback to the whole class on the lesson. This is not whole class feedback per se, but with the random aspect could be used over a number of lessons to achieve the same ends in a slightly different manner. Back to Contents
Write a question or statement on 3-5 sheets of sugar paper. Place these around the room and tell students they must debate them in writing, in silence. Anyone caught talking has 30 seconds out.
Students write their own comments and can comment on what their peers write as well.
The information on the paper offers an insight into class thinking and could even be tracked by giving out different coloured pens.
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Evaluation Tree Ask students where they feel they are on the tree in relation to the lesson or topic. Make the tree into a whole-class feedback tool by asking students to put a post-it note on the board for where they are at. Or, print off a large copy get students to write where they are. Could be used subsequently to pair students/make groups. Back to Contents
Students draw smiley faces to indicate how comfortable they are with the topic.
Ready to move on Understand some parts but not all Do not understand and need to look at it again Back to Contents You could spend a session with students where they make these, perhaps exaggerating the expressions, and then use them repeatedly.