Made by Mike Gershon – firstname.lastname@example.org Whole Class Feedback • A guide to whole class feedback including: • Introduction • Rationale • Further Reading • 25 examples of how to get whole class feedback
Contents Introduction Rationale Further Reading 25 ideas for whole class feedback: Post-It NotesMini-WhiteboardsExit PassTrue-False Cards ABCD CardsThumbsTraffic LightsStand-Crouch-Sit Post-It DividerContinuumPartneringWhiteboard Words Voting PodsQuestion? AnswerObjectivesRandom Feedback Txt MsgPlay-DohSilent DebateEvaluation Tree Smiley FacesMuddiest PointSeed to TreeForumFingers
Back to Contents Introduction Whole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). It is a means to assess the understanding of all students in a way that is efficient and time effective. ‘Whole class feedback’ refers to any method which allows the teacher to gain information concerning the knowledge and understanding of all the students in a class. Further in this document there are twenty-five examples of such methods. A concern sometimes raised by teachers is that whole class feedback can make teaching and learning somewhat mechanical, whereby the transmission of knowledge is prized above critical and creative thinking. Certainly the techniques have the potential to be used in this way, however their non-prescriptive nature means the teacher is always in control of how students engage with them. A second fear for some teachers is that whole class feedback may lead to a heavier workload in an already time-consuming job, with mountains of feedback needing to be sifted through. Precise and considered use of the techniques eliminates these worries; good planning on behalf of the teacher affords a deep understanding of where students are at without increasing workload. The techniques explained below have frequently helped teachers to ‘work smarter’, allowing them to deal with misconceptions on-the-go and en masse. Many also enable peers to aid one another’s learning, decreasing reliance on the teacher and increasing awareness of the learning process.
Back to Contents Rationale Whole class feedback is a crucial part of assessment for learning (AfL). As such, the rationale concerns AfL as a whole, of which whole class feedback is a part. This is a précis built on the evidence contained in the further reading detailed on the following page. Assessment for learning differs from assessment of learning as coaching differs from a fitness test. Assessment for learning involves the teacher and student becoming aware of how learning can be improved, how technique can be better mastered, how knowledge and understanding can accord more closely with reason, logic, that which is already known; how the gap can be closed between where the student is and where the teacher, curriculum, school can help them to get. Assessment of learning tests what a student knows. The first is formative, the latter summative. The first informs, the latter sums up. The first is open and cumulative, the latter is closed and definitive. “Assessment for Learning (AfL) means using evidence and dialogue to identify where pupils are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”(http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/research/themes/assessment_for_learning/) Assessment for learning, embedded in teaching, improves pupil attainment. Many teachers do it without calling it by such a moniker; all teachers, at all levels and in all subjects are able to do it. By no means is it reserved for the few or applicable only in specific situations.
Back to Contents Further Reading Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice, Paul Black, Chris Harrison, Clare Lee, Bethan Marshall, Dylan Wiliam This book sums up the extensive research review on which the assertions concerning AfL are made. It details how formative assessment can improve pupils’ learning and has a series of case studies from English schools. It is practical, realistic and explicitly tied to the classroom. Black Box Subject Series, Paul Black, Christine Harrison, Bethan Marshall & Dylan Wiliam (eds.) These booklets precede the book. They include subject specific guidance on how to work with AfL. ‘Inside the Black Box’and ‘Working Inside the Black Box’ are general guides. All are available cheaply at http://shop.gl-assessment.co.uk/home.php?cat=383 http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/assessment_for_learning/training/AfL-Guidance-KS12.pdf Ostensibly for Key Stage 1 and 2, this Northern Ireland Curriculum document offers an excellent introduction to AfL. There is also sound advice and examples on how to use it in the classroom. A reading list far in excess of this one is included.
Post It Notes Give students post-it notes on which to write answers or reflections. These could be collected in, placed on the board or held up. Back to Contents
Mini-Whiteboards Students write their answers on mini-whiteboards. These can be held up to show the teacher and peers. Extend by asking students to assess each other, correct misconceptions or analyse answers. Back to Contents
Exit Pass Students are given a slip of paper on which they must write the answer to a question, or series of questions. These are then deposited on the way out, giving the teacher feedback from all students. No exiting if you haven’t got a pass! Back to Contents
True/False Cards Laminate a set of cards with true on one side and false on the other. Plan questions around common misconceptions or difficult ideas for students to wave their cards for. Questioning, peer assessment and the like can grow from there. Back to Contents
ABCD cards Laminate a set of different coloured cards with A,B,C and D on them. Show students questions related to the topic with four possible answers. Reasons for choices can be followed up, questioned and so on. Back to Contents
Thumbs Ask students to show you with their thumbs how well they feel they understand the work. It may be useful to have a display or key such as… Back to Contents I do not feel happy that I understand what we are doing. I would like more help. I feel confident with the work and could explain it to someone else. I understand some of the work, but still have questions or am unsure.
Traffic Lights Students have a set of traffic lights they can use to indicate whether they fully understand (green), are in the middle (amber) or are struggling (red). Different materials can be used e.g. pieces of card, plastic cups (students can stack all three and change what is on top), lollipop sticks. Back to Contents
Stand-Crouch-Sit Students stand, crouch or sit depending on whether they feel comfortable with the learning, in the middle or unsure. Students who are standing can be asked to go around the room and explain to crouchers, who in turn explain to sitters until, hopefully, everyone in the room is happy to stand up. Back to Contents
Post It Divider A variation on the use of post-it notes. Hand them out to students and divide the board or a large piece of paper into categories – What have I learnt; What am I not sure about; What questions do I have Or questions – What is the answer to X?; Where might you use Y? The students reflect on these on the post-its. Back to Contents
Continuum Ask students to come and stand on a continuum indicating where they are at from ‘Understand and can explain’ to ‘Need more help to get to grips with it’. If you feel students may be uneasy about standing where they want to, you could use post-its with names on or totally blank (you’ll still get an idea of where the class are at). Back to Contents
Partnering Back to Contents Hand out half question cards and half answer cards. Students must then match themselves up in silence. Develop by having a third questions and two thirds answers, with two answers being correct for every one question; sticking questions and answers on students’ backs; questions find questions that lead to the same answer and answers find answers that could be from the same question Follow up by questioning or peer assessment
Whiteboard Words Here’s a variation on the mini-whiteboard theme. Give students a limited number of words with which to explain the key points of the lesson or ask them to identify the most important piece of learning. The results may allow you to judge in what directions pupils are taking their learning and how everyone is interacting with the concepts and ideas. Back to Contents
Voting Pods Voting pods allow students to input their answers to the computer, these then being accessible on an interactive whiteboard. Simple! Back to Contents
Question? Answer Back to Contents Put a question on the board and have different answers around the room. Students go to the one they think is right and justify their decision. Make this easier by having A,B,C,D points or posters in your room. Then you can have the answers on the board as well to save faffing. Develop by getting one member from each answer area to try and convince the others that their answer is right (good for encourage use of reason and uncovering of fallacy, misconceived reasoning etc.)
Objective Traffic Lights Back to Contents How do you feel about the lesson objectives? Red = don’t think I have grasped this Amber = feeling OK about this, have just about got there Green = Confident I have achieved this Being specific to the lesson objectives is an alternative way of using the traffic light technique. It sacrifices an holistic, qualitative assessment for a precise, quantitative one.
Random Feedback Back to Contents Use dice, short straws, roulette wheel, tombola, guess the number of sweets in the jar, to pick a group (or two) at random to feedback to the whole class on the lesson. This is not whole class feedback per se, but with the random aspect could be used over a number of lessons to achieve the same ends in a slightly different manner.
Txt Msg Depends if you have the facility. Perhaps you could ask IT to sort it out… Set up a class mobile number on the computer and ask students to text in the plenary (or answers to questions, reflections etc.) You could then look at these or show the whole class and analyse together. Back to Contents
Play-Doh Ask students to model answers to questions using Play-Doh. These will be clearly visible, if potentially esoteric. You could also ask students to model their feeling towards the learning – happy, OK, unsure etc. Back to Contents
Silent Debate Write a question or statement on 3-5 sheets of sugar paper. Place these around the room and tell students they must debate them in writing, in silence. Anyone caught talking has 30 seconds out. Students write their own comments and can comment on what their peers write as well. The information on the paper offers an insight into class thinking and could even be tracked by giving out different coloured pens. Back to Contents
Evaluation Tree Back to Contents Ask students where they feel they are on the tree in relation to the lesson or topic. Make the tree into a whole-class feedback tool by asking students to put a post-it note on the board for where they are at. Or, print off a large copy get students to write where they are. Could be used subsequently to pair students/make groups.
Smiley Faces Students draw smiley faces to indicate how comfortable they are with the topic. Back to Contents Understand some parts but not all Ready to move on Do not understand and need to look at it again You could spend a session with students where they make these, perhaps exaggerating the expressions, and then use them repeatedly.
Muddiest Point Another variation on mini- whiteboards. Students write down one or two points on which they are least clear. This could be from the previous lesson, the rest of the unit, the preceding activity etc. The teacher and class can then seek to remedy the muddiness. Back to Contents
Seed to Tree This technique draws on drama and asks students to imagine their learning is like the life-cycle of a tree. The tree starts off very small, as a seed, and grows to be very big, as a full tree. Students consider where their learning is at and make the shape appropriate. Full trees can then be sent round to help seeds and saplings develop. Back to Contents
Forum Set up a forum on the computer (easy to do if you have a managed learning environment such as Frog or Fronter) and ask students to comment either in the lesson or for homework. The comments they leave can be used to assess what students are having difficulties with and so forth. Back to Contents
Fingers A nuanced version of thumbs and traffic lights. Students hold up fingers accordingly: 1 – I am fully confident with the learning 2 – I am confident with most of the learning 3 – Some parts I am confident with, other bits I am not sure 4 – I am only happy with a few parts of the learning 5 – I am having difficulty understanding any part Back to Contents