Student Feedback – A Personal Grey Area in Assessment

A question from my Senior Geography AQ:

What are the main features of the feedback you provide to students about their learning in geography?

To be honest, I have never done any official assessment for any of the students I have interacted with. Every placement and supply job leaves the classroom teacher in charge of true assessment. I have never met one teacher who has relinquished assessment control.

For this reason, I cannot answer this question using any experience, and I must rely on theoretical opinion to answer this. I find this module very difficult for this reason.

If I were to hypothetically teach geography or any subject where I was allowed to assess student learning, I would ensure the following types of feedback are provided:

  1. constructive, personalized comments on creative student work and habits
  2. detailed rubrics for standardized assignments that measure achievement in relation to provincial standards
  3. scores with answer key for knowledge based assignments

I have always enjoyed personal comments from teachers/professors as it shows that they spent some time trying to understand my point of view. This type of feedback has guided me to produce better work or develop better work skills/habits.

Rubrics are not as satisfying as comments, but sometimes it is nice to know where you stand in comparison to others. I guess that is part of the social learning theory; knowing you are ahead of the curve is motivating. I could imagine this could go the other way if you aren’t achieving high.

Call me old fashioned, but test scores (as long as incorrect answers can be learned from) are helpful in showing me how I am doing. This may cause undue stress for some students, but I do believe it is necessary to know how well (or not so well) one has done on a test.

I invite feedback to this approach as I am new to the profession. What types of feedback do you think are most effective?

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