Sunday, 14 September 2014

30-Day Blogging Challenge: Day 14: Assessment for Learning

Day 14: What is feedback for learning and how do you give it to students?

Feedback for learning is an incredibly useful way to look at feedback. Ongoing, authentic assessment for learning is what actually helps students. Looking at assessment and feedback as a tool for student learning is powerful and productive.

Assessment and evaluation with purpose can educate and challenge learners to go further.

Some of the ways I make sure that students in my classroom participate in feedback for learning include:

  • I am sensitive to each child's individual needs
    • I spend a lot of time getting to know each of my students and work very hard to provide them with appropriate entry points for all tasks so that they can meet success and feel challenged
  • giving genuine, authentic praise for students' efforts
  • I give feedback verbally, non-verbally and in writing
  • explaining what students are doing correctly and areas of need that they still have
  • from the beginning of the year, we practice giving and receiving feedback. Students learn to comment on one another's work with the prompts, "I liked it when...." and "Next time....", the receiver responds with a simple, "Thank you"
    • this ensures that feedback is specific and timely
    • by replying with "Thank you", the receiving student acknowledges the constructive criticism and does not argue or try to justify. He or she can then choose what to do with the feedback
    • students share their work with "Accountability Apprentices" and offer suggestions and praise
  • I ask for and graciously accept feedback from my students. I am the Lead Learner in the room and demonstrate that though my actions, including seeking feedback
  • We set thoughtful and realistic goals
    • we track them in conferences, meetings and with a website called
    • we regularly reassess, celebrate successes and set new goals if needed
  • I am working on sharing regular feedback with parents so that they can hear about the small and large successes and challenges of their children
    • this year, I am creating "Annual Learning Plans" collaboratively with students and parents
  • I am working on having more short one-on-one conferences with students each day
  • students fill out "What Stuck with You" surveys daily so that I can quickly check in and see what still needs to be reviewed, taught or practice
  • students focus on self-assessment, pointing out proof of their learning
    • inspired by Sandra Herbst, we used "Proof Cards" in our Student Led Conferences this year to show our families specific elements about what we had accomplished and areas where we are still working
  • also inspired by Sandra Herbst, a group of staff created a "Writing Continuum" last year to demonstrate levels of achievement for students
    • students put these criteria in order and used them to reflect on their work
  • I use: "I noticed...." and "What do you want me to notice?" as conversation starters with students
  • as a class, we collaboratively create Success Criteria checklists and rubrics
    • we outline the specific elements (skills and knowledge) we are working on in an individual task, limiting them appropriately so students can focus in their work
    • students use these to guide their work
    • students use these to self- and peer-assess
Any feedback on these ideas?


  1. A true learning process to assessment. Love the way it is individualized and transparent with the expectations for the students. I like the idea of an Annual Learning plan. So great that your staff created a writing continuum so important and great to refer to for students. I always have wanted to create a French writing continuum I try and keep students' work from previous years . Co-creating the criteria is a very authentic and important step in order for students to self and peer assess. Your students work with you on a true authentic assessment as for learning process.

    1. Have you had a chance to see Sandra Herbst in person? You would love her assessment strategies!

    2. I have met Sandra twice I love her work, Once in a 5 days institute on assessment with Anne Davies, 5 Years ago I presented at an assessment conference and she was the main speaker. I am used to continuums at IB school students were assessed on continuums.

  2. When you look at all you do, put down in writing, it is impressive. I think your Annual Learning Plan is going to be transformative and I'm excited to work on it with you. How structured are you planning on being with your one to one meetings? How are you going to schedule them in?

    1. Hey Tiiu,

      Good questions. I'm not sure yet how much structure I'm going to use. I do know that I'd like to meet with each student and his or her parents at least twice (hopefully three times) in the school year. I think I'll share the ALP template with them and we'll all fill it out together.

  3. Shauna, you have so many interesting points in this post. I was wondering about your Annual Learning Plan with students and parents. How are you going to create it? How will they contribute? When will they update it? I would love to hear more about this -- sounds very interesting! Thanks!


    1. Hi Aviva,

      I created a template for the ALP on the Google Drive and plan to share a personalized one with each student and his or her parents/guardians. Students and families can access it at any time and leave comments on the document. I think only I will have editing priviledges and will post updates about in-class progress periodically.

      Students will add comments as "proof" of their learning. I hope that they will also link to their work on their ALPs.

      Totally a work in progress, but hopefully they'll help me with IEP writing, progress and report cards and keep parent meetings and Student Led Conferences on track and moving forwards by collaboratively setting goals and acting on them.