“Students can learn without grades, but cannot learn without feedback.” – Rick Wormeli
Over this past school year, I started to uncover the value of feedback over grades. The truth is, feedback is everywhere in our lives if we would just look around. It is essential for our growth and improvement, but too many times it is missing or at the very best lacking in our classrooms.
There are many ways for everyone in the learning community to garner feedback. Teachers provide it for students and vice-versa. Students give feedback to each other, and there is much to be said for teaching kids how to self evaluate and improve their learning on their own.
The book I am currently reading, Role Reversal by Mark Barnes, has wonderful information and insight on this topic. I find myself agreeing with so much of what he says about feedback and grading. Grades are competitive in nature, but feedback elicits growth. Isn’t that what we are looking for? Student growth and learning must be at the heart of what we do. Barnes recommends using the SE2R method which is as follows:
Summarize and Explain what the student has done according to the guidelines or standards
Redirect the student to previous learning, additional information, or further practice
Resubmit tell the student how to resubmit the work for further evaluation and feedback
Feedback should fuel the fire to learn, unlike grades which in my opinion most times stop the process cold. Once there is a letter or number on the paper, a student figures that the learning about the concept has stopped, no matter how high or low the grade.
Improving feedback in my classroom is a goal of mine for next year. I incorporate a standards based grading system in my classroom that eliminates the grading of formative assessments. Rather than a grade, students are simply given feedback to improve. I gave many less grades last year and my students definitely benefited from it. I would like to use the SE2R method from the book to improve my skills and in turn be a better model for my students! Hopefully they will start to give better feedback to me, each other, and to themselves.