Day 14 (of 184) descriptive feedback: the good the bad the ugly

Day 14 (of 184) descriptive feedback

The good, the bad, the ugly. That Clint Eastwood title still runs through my head when I talk, explain, and use descriptive feedback.

The good – talking descriptive feedback with all members is the learning community. Being part of a feedback loop where students can continuously improve their work and make changes ‘on the fly’ rather than after something is already ‘done’.

The bad – putting it into practice requires changes in common classroom practice. This can be difficult – especially when some students know that if they do ‘good enough’ they can ‘earn’ a sticker. Or a checkmark. Or a score /10. But with descriptive feedback, sometimes (often) good enough, isn’t.

The ugly – descriptive feedback gets messy in a good way! Once we see the benefits to using descriptive feedback it causes great change – in part because when I’m coaching football I can’t tell my lineman that his block was a 7/10 and he’s averaging 73%. The numbers don’t matter – the descriptions of what is working well and what one (maybe two) things they new to focus on improving makes the activity meaningful and relevant.

I haven’t put a ‘score’ on student work in years. With new classes there is always a bit of awkwardness but the understanding that descriptive feedback is immediate and connects directly to the learning that is occurring always makes much more of an impact than a number assigned a day/week after an assignment had been turned in. The use of descriptive feedback is one of ‘those doors’ that once opened, can’t be closed.

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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