This weekend, I was engaged in a very passionate discussion on Twitter about the use of marks and feedback. Inquiry doesn’t really lend itself well to marks, but the report card program insists that we give them. The big question is how do we do so?
- Do we focus on feedback based on co-constructed Success Criteria? How do we get these young learners to help construct this Success Criteria? Is it okay that it’s more teacher-directed at the beginning? Do we start small and build from there (e.g., maybe even one piece of Success Criteria at a time)? How do we make this Success Criteria accessible to all students (e.g., those students that can’t read and those students that have difficulty understanding the language)? How might visuals help, and how can we use these visuals?
- When and how do we use marks? Do we use rubrics, even in Grade 1? How can we make these rubrics based on the process and not just the product (e.g., based on the sharing that is done during a recorded podcast)? If we don’t use marks until report cards, how do we help the students and parents understand these marks? Do we share these marks with them prior to report cards, and if so, how?
- Does this approach change depending on the grade? How do we make the decision of which grades to introduce marks prior to report cards and which grades not to? Should this be a grade team decision? Who’s involved in this decision (e.g., teacher, parents, students, admin, support staff)? What roles do each of them play?
All of the big questions seem to have many little ones that stem from them, and I don’t have the answers here. I’ve tried different approaches — from Success Criteria to rubrics to a combination of the above — and I think that they all have value in different ways. Throughout the month of September, I’ve collected much documentation on my students (from photographs to video recordings to work samples to self-assessments), but as some of our units come to an end (e.g., the Daily and Seasonal Changes one in Science), I have to make a decision about assigning marks: if to do so and how to do so. What would you do? How would you do it? Why do you think that this is the best approach? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the complex topic of marks and feedback.