Will this assessment help me to identify student’s needs as learners? Will it help me to guide next steps? These questions swirl around my brain. See that determined orange tabby climbing higher to to new levels? That’s what I want for my students.
Recently this phrase, caught my attention, actionable feedback. Feedback kids know they must act upon, as apposed to feedback that sounds like advice or a mere suggestion. Actionable feedback gives a clear message about the next step or goal. An example might be asking a student to revise a piece of writing by adding lively action words. It could also be just the right question to push a student’s thinking forward. How will I do this? Specifically identify what was done well, then drive the learning forward with a clear next step or insightful question. This requires mindfulness on my part as I guide students to next steps.
Imagine what this would be like for a student. How does a rubric and exemplar help a student to self assess? For a student, what does ‘descriptive language is simple’ really mean? Maybe nothing at all! Exemplars can make next steps clearer for students too; by helping them see what their learning looks like and what is missing in order to move it forward. When a student says my work is like the ‘3’ exemplar, I can ask them why it is not like the’4′ exemplar; this may prompt them to identify a next step and they will be on their way. Actionable feedback once again.
It is about helping students internalize this reflective and iterative process.