Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post-game Reassessment: Instant Feedback

A few days ago, I posted about our first use of Frank Noschese's system for instant post-assessment feedback.  The highlights:
  • After finishing the assessment, students go (with paper in hand, but not pencil) to one of the exhaustively completed keys around the room
  • Students pick up a green pencil and mark on their papers: what they were thinking while doing any analysis that came out incorrect, what they can do better next time, and even alternate ideas for analysis if theirs was already correct, but not the same method(s) that I used
  • Students hand in the paper to me, I grade them, record the grades and feedback, and return them as usual
From my point of view, students are looking at their own work right in the moment, so they have immediate buy-in and a fresh memory of what they were thinking while doing the problem, so it's much easier for them to identify their errors in thinking (rather than their errors in doing) than it is for me to try to guess what they were thinking, given only what they did.  Writing their own feedback also helps them have automatically meaningful input for future reference.  I add in anything that I think that they're still missing, but they're doing most of the work here - as it should be!  Learning, unfortunately (for efficiency, fortunately for fun!), isn't something that anyone can do for someone else.

Well, those were my thoughts and hopes.  The next class, I asked students to give me some of their feedback, to see if they saw it as I did.  From their papers on assessment day, I saw a surprising depth of self-reflection and it seemed (from my POV) to be successful.  From their point of view:
  • "I thought it helped me to understand problems/errors I made while the problem was still fresh in my mind.  It was Good + Useful!"
  • "I thought what we did helped a lot because it showed me what I need to work on for the test."
  • "I think the green pencil was helpful because it allowed me to learn from my mistakes."
  • "It helped me understand some of it, but it was a little difficult to know if I would get partial credit, like with tangent lines, but it did help me understand what went wrong" The small wrinkle that they were drawing tangent lines by hand to determine velocity from a curved position graph meant that some students had difficulty judging what was close enough.  The partial credit thing is really ingrained in them - focus on the learning, not the points!
  • "Good, so you know right away what you did wrong and fix it."
  • "Was not helpful because I did not understand what to do."
  • "This method was kind of helpful because it forced me to look at my mistakes but sometimes I don't know what my mistakes were."
  • "I liked it because it helped me learn what I did wrong."
  • "I liked the idea.  My thought process was fresh in my mind."
  • "Now I know what I was thinking on the test.  This is positive so I realize what I was thinking during the test."
  • "I liked it! It helped, I think, and I could see my mistake as soon as it happened and know where I went wrong."
  • "For the first side the numbers were slightly different but the method was the same, so it confirmed my procedure.  The other side showed how I messed up the equation slightly."
  • "I liked doing the green pencil because it was right after the assessment so I knew what I was thinking while taking the assessment."
  • "I thought that going back and making corrections on the assessment immediately after taking it was very helpful.  I could figure out what I did wrong and then use the corrected version to look over and study from.  Also, I know what types of mistakes I made, so I know what to watch out for in the future."
  • "I liked it.  It was good to see my mistakes right after."
  • "I liked the idea a lot, but it didn't really help me since I had the answers right."
  • "It helped me learn what I did wrong to see the work."
  • "It helped me pinpoint what I needed to work on."
  • "It helped. When I got my quiz back, I recognized what I was thinking when I took it."
  • "I think it was nice because I could look at the correct answer and see why it was wrong instead of you just declaring it was wrong and not showing us exactly."
  • "It was hard to tell exactly what you did wrong or if you needed more information than you had." My key was very verbose - some kids did ask if they needed to show all of the work that I did. 
  • "It was good feedback."


  1. Might be worth a try. I am a little worried about cheating.

  2. ...thus the green pencil. You can monitor whether or not they're leaving their own pencils at their desks and writing with the green ones. Also, there's not really any point cheating in a standards-based grading class. It's just going to show on the next assessment!