There's nothing worse than talking to a proverbial brick wall. If you're a teacher or professor who grades student or employee performance, take our quiz to gauge your effectiveness. You may just get schooled.
While test feedback strategies can take many forms, the most common involve timing, amount, mode and audience.
When teachers focus on test feedback "timing," they return a test to students the next day after the test has been taken. It could also mean teachers offer feedback immediately following answers on an oral test. Offering quick test results gives students time to act on the feedback, as well as the ability to do so while the topic is still fresh.
If students don't receive feedback on tests as soon as possible, they may begin to feel frustrated or ignored.
When a teacher administers a test, returns it graded the next day and then spends class time going over the test questions -- particularly incorrect ones -- with students, that is an example of "knowledge of results." This term refers to the fact that even simple feedback is valuable, as long as it is done in a timely manner.
For optimal learning, focus your test feedback on a few select topics. This way, you can help students connect the dots between what they know (or don't know) and what they need to learn.
When writing corrections on a tests, stay focused. A good amount of feedback includes commenting on key learning targets and strengths as well as weaknesses.
It's important to match the mode with the test delivery method. So, if it was a written test, give some written feedback.
As you write comments on a test, don't dazzle students with your vocabulary or overwhelm them with your use of colored marker. Instead, hone in on a few key points and, if your comments threaten to become extensive, follow up with a personal conversation instead.
Test feedback works best when it's appropriate for the audience. When providing results to the class, turn it into a review session by using students who have mastered the concepts to help demonstrate. Or, if you're working with individual students, use terms they can understand and personalize your comments to each one.
When you help a student correct misconceptions, it is more powerful than pointing out a lack of information. Address a lack of information through further instruction instead.
No matter how a student scores on test -- high or low -- steer clear of "value" descriptions in your feedback. Saying "You're a smart girl -- you aced the test," for example, puts the emphasis on the child's innate intelligence (which is not static, by the way) instead of the effort she put into preparing for the test.
When test feedback involves criticizing without offering ideas to improve, it stagnates learning.
By commenting on a student's work process or study strategy, you shift the focus to effort -- and encourage future gains. It allows students to see the connection between their efforts and the results they receive.
When students identify why the correct answer is, indeed, correct, they are building a foundation that not only cements this information in their wheelhouse, but also readies them for learning about related topics.
The best way to use comparison during test feedback is not to gauge students against each other. Instead, compare the group's work as a whole with previous groups or a previously set benchmark.
To keep test feedback positive, first be positive. Make suggestions for improvement instead of demands for additional work .Even if you need to criticize, do so constructively by sandwiching helpful "next steps" in between sincere praise.
If your students are motivated to learn, welcome the feedback and have improved test scores, your feedback is clearly on the right track.
With the increased use of MP3 players and smartphones by students, some teachers are using podcasts to provide feedback. This is a quick way to provide individualized comments, much like you would if you met one-on-one.
More tests are offered in an electronic or online format, so using screenshots sent by e-mail can be an effective way to alert students to results or common mistakes.
When students use clickers, also known as electronic voting systems, they become more engaged in test review sessions. This interactive element also can help teachers gauge the level of a group's understanding.