Teaching Profession

Formative Assessment: Using Feedback to Feed Forward

By Liana Loewus — February 29, 2012 1 min read

At the recent annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, both education professors at San Diego State University and teachers at Health Sciences High and Middle College, said the most important components of formative assessment are strong feedback and “feed forward.”

All too often, teachers mark mistakes on writing assignments and hand them back to students, who then simply throw their papers away, said Frey. That feedback loop is ineffective and can reinforce misconceptions. Strong feedback, on the other hand, is timely, specific, actionable, and useful, she explained. Students are given opportunities to re-learn and practice the skill again right away.

See Also

See the related story,

Best Practices for Formative Assessment of Student Writing

Teachers should also “feed forward” by asking themselves: How will I use what I learned in the feedback process to inform my instruction? This helps teachers anticipate misconceptions and decide what needs to be re-taught and to whom,explained Fisher and Frey. Too many teachers, they said, fail to both track their feedback and use the data to alter their upcoming lesson plans.

Fisher described the formative-assessment process used at his school. “We’re not editors marking every error to fix” on an assignment, he said. Rather, teachers correct an error the first time they see it. The second time they see the same error, they put the student’s initials on an error-tracking sheet. Then they can easily see which students are struggling with the same skills and pull them for small-group instruction. Students bring their assignments to the small group, re-learn the skill, and correct their own errors.

It seems simple. And it can save teachers time in correcting papers. But in order for it to work, Fisher and Frey emphasized, teachers need to be flexible in their planning and willing to veer from whole-class instruction.

A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2012 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Nearly 9 in 10 Teachers Willing to Work in Schools Once Vaccinated, Survey Finds
Nearly half of educators who belong to the National Education Association have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site set up for teachers and school staff in Reading, Pa., on March 15.
Matt Rourke/AP
Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
pavel_balanenko/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion Should Teachers Be Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Not all states are moving teachers to the front of the vaccination line. Researchers discuss the implications for in-person learning.
6 min read
Teacher Lizbeth Osuna from Cooper Elementary receives the Moderna vaccine at a CPS vaccination site at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Chicago public school teacher Lizbeth Osuna receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a school vaccination site last week.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP