A guide to whole class feedback including:- Introduction- Rationale- Further Reading- 25 examples of how to get whole class feedback
Contents Introduction Rationale Further Reading25 ideas for whole class feedback:Post-It Notes Mini-Whiteboards Exit Pass True-False CardsABCD Cards Thumbs Traffic Lights Stand-Crouch-SitPost-It Divider Continuum Partnering Whiteboard WordsVoting Pods Question? Answer Objectives Random FeedbackTxt Msg Play-Doh Silent Debate Evaluation TreeSmiley Faces Muddiest Point Seed to Tree Forum Fingers
Back to Con IntroductionWhole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). It is a means toassess 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 gaininformation concerning the knowledge and understanding of all the students in a class.A concern sometimes raised by teachers is that whole class feedback can maketeaching and learning somewhat mechanical, whereby the transmission of knowledgeis prized above critical and creative thinking. Certainly the techniques have thepotential to be used in this way, however their non-prescriptive nature means theteacher 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 heavierworkload in an already time-consuming job, with mountains of feedback needing to besifted through. Precise and considered use of the techniques eliminates these worries;good planning on behalf of the teacher affords a deep understanding of where studentsare at without increasing workload.The techniques covered have frequently helped teachers to ‘work smarter’, allowingthem to deal with misconceptions on-the-go and en masse. Many also enable peers toaid one another’s learning, decreasing reliance on the teacher and increasingawareness of the learning process.
Back to Con RationaleWhole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). As such, therationale concerns AfL as a whole, of which whole class feedback is a part.Assessment for learning differs from assessment of learning as coaching differs from afitness test.Assessment for learning involves the teacher and student becoming aware of howlearning can be improved, how technique can be better mastered, how knowledge andunderstanding can accord more closely with reason, logic, that which is alreadyknown; how the gap can be closed between where the student is and where theteacher, curriculum, school can help them to get. Assessment of learning tests what astudent knows.The first is formative, the latter summative. The first informs, the latter sums up. Thefirst is open and cumulative, the latter is closed and definitive.“Assessment for Learning (AfL) means using evidence and dialogue to identify wherepupils 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. Manyteachers do it without calling it by such a moniker; all teachers, at all levels and in allsubjects are able to do it. By no means is it reserved for the few or applicable only inspecific situations.
Back to Con Further ReadingAssessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice,Paul Black, Chris Harrison, Clare Lee, Bethan Marshall, Dylan WiliamThis book sums up the extensive research review on which the assertions concerning AfLare made. It details how formative assessment can improve pupils’ learning and has aseries of case studies from English schools. It is practical, realistic and explicitly tied to theclassroom.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 workwith AfL. ‘Inside the Black Box’ and ‘Working Inside the Black Box’ are general guides.
Post It NotesGive students post-it notes on which to write answers or reflections.These could be collected in, placed on the board or held up. Back to Con
Mini- WhiteboardsStudents write their answers on mini-whiteboards. These can be held up to show the teacher and peers.Extend by asking students to assess each other, correct misconceptions or analyse answers. Back to Conte
Exit PassStudents are given a slip of paper on which they must write the answer to a question, or series of questions.These are then deposited on the way out, giving the teacher feedback from all students. No exiting if you haven’t got a pass! Back to Cont
True/False CardsLaminate a set of cards with true on one side and false on the other.Plan questions around common misconceptions or difficult ideas for students to wave their cards for. Questioning, peer assessment and the like can grow from there. Back to Conte
ABCD cardsLaminate a set of different coloured cards with A,B,C and D on them.Show students questions related to the topic with four possible answers. Reasons for choices can be followed up, questioned and so on. Back to Cont
Thumbs 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…I feel confident I understand I do not feel happywith the work and some of the that I understandcould explain it to work, but still what we are doing.someone else. have questions I would like more or am unsure. help. Back to Conte
Traffic LightsStudents have a set of traffic lights they can use to indicate whether they fully understand (green), are in the middle (amber) or are struggling (red).Different materials can be used e.g. Planner pages, pieces of card, plastic cups (students can stack all three and change what is on top), lollipop sticks. Back to Conte
Stand-Crouch- SitStudents stand, crouch or sit depending on whether they feel comfortable with the learning, in the middle or unsure.Students who are standing can be asked to go around the room and explain to crouchers, who in turn explain to sitters until, hopefully, everyone in the room is happy to stand up. Back to Conte
Post It DividerA variation on the use of post-it notes.Hand them out to students and divide the board or a large piece of paper into categories –What have I learnt; What am I not sure about; What questions do I haveOr questions –What is the answer to X?; Where might you use Y?The students reflect on these on the post-its. Back to Cont
Continuu mAsk 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). Back to Conte
PartneringHand out half question cards and half answer cards. Studentsmust then match themselves up in silence. Back to Conten Follow up by questioning or peer assessmentDevelop by having a third questions and two thirds answers, with two answers being correct for everyone question; sticking questions and answers on students’ backs; questions find questions that lead tothe same answer and answers find answers that could be from the same question
Whiteboard WordsHere’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. Back to Conten
Voting PodsVoting pods allow students to input their answers to the computer, these then being accessible on an interactive whiteboard. Simple! Back to Conte
Question? AnswerPut a question on the board and have different answers aroundthe room. Students go to the one they think is right and justifytheir decision.Make this easier by having A,B,C,D points or posters in yourroom. Then you can have the answers on the board as well tosave faffing.Develop by getting one member from each answer area to try and convince the othersthat their answer is right (good for encouragIng use of reason and uncovering offallacy, misconceived reasoning etc.) Back to Content
Objective Traffic LightsHow do you feel about the lesson objectives?Red = don’t think I have grasped thisAmber = feeling OK about this, have just about got thereGreen = Confident I have achieved thisBeing specific to the lesson objectives is an alternative way of usingthe traffic light technique. It sacrifices an holistic, qualitativeassessment for a precise, quantitative one. Back to Conten
Random FeedbackUse dice, short straws, roulette wheel, tombola, guess thenumber of sweets in the jar, to pick a group (or two) atrandom to feedback to the whole class on the lesson.This is not whole class feedback per se, but with therandom aspect could be used over a number of lessons toachieve the same ends in a slightly different manner. Back to Conten
Txt MsgDepends if you have the facility. Perhaps you could ask IT to sort it out…… LOL.Set up a class mobile number on the computer and ask students to text in the plenary (or answers to questions, reflections etc.)You could then look at these or show the whole class and analyse together. Back to Content
Play-DohAsk students to model answers to questions using Play- Doh. These will be clearly visible, if potentially esoteric.You could also ask students to model their feeling towards the learning – happy, OK, unsure etc. Back to Conten
Silent DebateWrite 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. Back to Conten
Evaluation TreeAsk students where they feelthey are on the tree inrelation to the lesson or topic.Make the tree into a whole-class feedback tool by askingstudents to put a post-it noteon the board for where theyare at.Or, print off a large copy getstudents to write where theyare.Could be used subsequentlyto pair students/makegroups. Back to Content
Smiley FacesStudents draw smiley faces to indicate how comfortable they are with the topic. Ready to move on Understand some Do not understand parts but not all and need to look at it again You could spend a session with students where they make these, perhaps exaggerating the expressions, and then use them repeatedly. Back to Conte
Muddiest PointAnother variation on mini-whiteboards.Students write down one or twopoints on which they are least clear.This could be from the previouslesson, the rest of the unit, thepreceding activity etc.The teacher and class can then seekto remedy the muddiness. Back to Conten
Seed to TreeThis technique draws on drama and asks students to imagine their learning is like the life-cycle of a tree. The tree starts off very small, as a seed, and grows to be very big, as a full tree.Students consider where their learning is at and make the shape appropriate. Full trees can then be sent round to help seeds and saplings develop. Back to Conten
ForumSet up a forum on the computer (easy to do if you have a managed learning environment or use Edmodo) and ask students to comment either in the lesson or for homework.The comments they leave can be used to assess what students are having difficulties with and so forth. Back to Conte
Fingers A nuanced version of thumbs and traffic lights. Students hold up fingers accordingly:1 – I am fully confident with the learning2 – I am confident with most of the learning3 – Some parts I am confident with, other bits I am not sure4 – I am only happy with a few parts of the learning5 – I am having difficulty understanding any part Back to Conten
Web Cams A sure fire way to engage students ishaving their own work displayed – great for peer and self assessment.