Transparent Feedback Strategies

A Guide to Feedback on Your Writing, with transcript at linkMy assessment this term focuses on feedback, asa part of the #ungrading approach I have adopted. Since I do not put A’s and B’s on student work, feedback is critical.

Understandably, some students are a bit nervous about this approach. In particular, they worry that they will not be able to tell what the feedback tells them about their work. Their uneasiness is a strong indication of how they have used grades to determine their accomplishment in the past. Combine their apprehension about #ungrading with the fact that every teacher provides feedback differently, and it’s little wonder they aren’t quite sure how all this feedback is going to work.

As I began adding feedback to the work they have submitted, I realized that I could tell students more about the logistics of my feedback system—and that it was in my benefit to do so for several reasons:

  • I do not comment on every piece of writing students do, but they have no way of knowing whether the lack of a comment means I haven’t seen their text or I saw it and chose to say nothing.
  • I use boilerplate for those frequently-used comments, but students do not know why I might repeat exactly the same feedback.
  • I automate some feedback in Canvas on activities that count like check-ins. If students have not done those activities, Canvas can assign them an Incomplete (or zero). They need to undertand how to use that feedback as a reminder to get the activity done.

To explain all these practices to students, I created the simple infographic on the right, with an online transcript of the text. I aimed at short and clear explanations, without expansive details on pedagogical or practical reasons for the different strategies.

I plan to share it on Tuesday, after our Labor Day holiday. I’m hoping to hear that the details help make the logistics more transparent.