Watt's Up


Credit Push Continues

We have seven school days until Thanskgiving Break. Please encourage students to finsh a class on or before Tuesday, November 4th.

Alternative Education - Teacher Survey

Every year, all certified teachers working in approved alternative programs are required to participate in a survey. The purpose as described by Julia Johns (Alternative Education Specialist)...

These surveys are used to collect data on the Alternative Education program as a whole and are not meant to be punitive to a particular program, teacher, or student. It is our goal to equip programs to provide the best instruction to students that they are capable of and this survey is a means for us to gauge how that may or may not be happening currently.

The teacher survey does have a username/password (educator/renewal). Please complete the survey on or before Tuesday, November 24th.

Teacher Survey: http://www.indianaae.com/teacher2015.html

Alternative Education - Student Survey

Every year, students enrolled for 15+ days are asked to participate in a survey. The survey does not require a username/password. I have placed a copy of the link and a few instructions on the Merit Learning Center dashboard in Its Learning.

Please ask students (enrolled for 15+ days) to complete the survey on or before Tuesday, November 24th.

Academic Feedback - Thoughts on Cluster

Last week, we talked about providing academic feedback that encourages our students to think about their learning. Carrie has been thinking about how she helps students correct their thinking errors after a quiz attempt. She has chosen to refrain from showing students the data from their actual quiz attempt.

Disclaimer - Carrie is not encouraging anyone to move away from using the data from a quiz attempt for the purpose of reteaching. Her intent is to provide teachers with yet another tool to support student learning and increase instructional effectiveness in the areas of academic feedback, knowledge of students, and thinking. Only use this strategy if you are comfortable doing so!

Some of you may use this strategy with students this week. I heard Carrie stress the importance of identifying the thinking error, writing a question to pinpoint the misunderstood question/concept, and providing feedback that encourages a new/different thought.

TeachThought posted article on academic feedback. As I read the article, I pulled out some specific passages that really support what we learned in cluster. I challenge each of you to considering the following when providing students with feedback this week.

How To Give Students Specific Feedback That Actually Helps Them Learn

by Justin Chando

To tell a student “great job”or “this needs work” is a missed opportunity.

Academic feedback is transparent.

I always appreciated transparency as a student. I didn’t feel like I was guessing. I knew what was expected of me, and it was much easier to process the feedback I received when it was in relation to those expectations set up front.

What does transparent feedback look like? Getting a rubric or similar document that outlines the way an instructor is adjudicating work is a step toward creating a transparent system for students. It’s an honest conversation up front. This is what I’m looking for. This is what I care a lot about. This is what I’ll be thinking about when I look at what you’ve created. Take note.

What is communicated is actionable.

Great feedback begs an obvious action/response from a student. It provides a clear course of action for the next time around or outlines a new plan for moving forward. In short: a student should know what to do next; they should never be left guessing based on a teacher’s comments.

What does actionable feedback look like?

I think to ensure that any feedback is actionable, we just need to ask ourselves the simple question “will my student know how to proceed?” Instead of marking an answer incorrect and walking away, actionable feedback refers a student to a resource, chapter, or practice problem to brush up on where they went wrong. Which means…

It should not be confusing, vague, or general.

We never want a student to review feedback on an assignment and then say “what does this mean?” That can’t be good. Quality feedback should be accessible to a student – clear and concise, using familiar language from your lesson/classroom.

What does user-friendly feedback look like? If you’re using a rubric or similar guide, this is a good starting point. Referring to these assessment points in feedback is one way to make it clear why something was marked the way it was.

There is consistency of language, form, and other “factors.”

A student looking to master new skills relies heavily on teacher feedback to steer them. When that feedback changes, it’s easy to feel lost and off track. Keeping guidance as consistent as possible allows students and teachers alike to hone in what needs to improve in a student’s work, and focus on making it better and better.

What does consistent feedback look like? Guiding documents for assessment – something like a rubric – is one way to frame your own feedback, providing you a guide to keep it consistent. Reviewing previous assignments to check your own assessment – as well as student progress – is another way to keep feedback focused.

Food for Thought - New TAP Indicator

I have decided to make a new indicator called Instructional Feedback. Here is an analogy that attempts to define it.

Academic Feedback is to the student as Instructional Feedback is to the teacher.

In order to gather evidence for Instructional Feedback, I will need to flip observations...meaning, I will place a microphone on the students.

What kind of evidence would I be able to gather?

Obviously, I am not really going to create a new indicator but flipping the microphone placement would give me a very different perspective of the learning environment.

Do you ever gather feedback about your instruction from students? How might you go about it? What would be the purpose of gathering instructional feedback from our students?

Think about it!