How do we leverage digital platforms and the use of feedback to help students reach proficiency in science?
What is expected of students is changing. Gone are the days where students could just focus on memorizing and taking linear steps in their learning. Students are now expected to compete on a global platform rather than a local one. The challenge for teachers moving forward is how to address these new expectations in a way that is both effective and efficient. As you move through the site, you will see how feedback can be used to help students develop critical skills that will be necessary for their success moving forward
Kelly home Learn More Standards Inspiration About the Author
New standards, new expectations...
When I first started teaching 10 years ago, the year revolved around the pacing calendar. We were covering a chapter in 2 weeks, assessing students more than we needed to, and were after a never ending search for high test scores rather than learning. Students were never given the opportunity to really move to a deeper level of understanding because it was always time to move on the next standard. With the new NGSS standards being implemented this year, the game has changed.
Skills like rote learning still have a place, but are now the beginning rather than the end. Students need to be able to see similarities across different disciplines in science. Critical thinking, and their ability to analyze information effectively, will be benchmarks for students as they progress through middle school science. They will be expected to develop their own experiments, rather than complete preexisting ones. With 30-36 students in every class, I started wondering how I was going to be able to give them constructive criticism quickly enough that not only allowed them to see their mistakes, but more importantly, in a way where they had the opportunity to fix them. I knew that student feedback was going to have to play a role, but was unsure of how.
As readers move through the site, I hope to show how technology, feedback, and student proficiency in middle school science are connected. Feedback has been shown to have a high effect size on learning. Hundreds of research studies will support that claim. The question for me was the impact it would have specifically on a middle school science classroom. How would it help students write a conclusion once we finished a lab? How would it help them build the confidence to design their own? These were just a few questions I hope to address.
What was I hoping to learn through my research?
When I began my action research, I wanted to understand how feedback would work with middle school kids. Throughout this journey I have learned quite a bit. Lessons that I think can help other people use peer feedback in a classroom effectively. My first round of research looked for improvements when students received feedback from their peers in a very specific way. My second round focused on how students felt about feedback when they were the reviewer in the process. How did it help them? What things were they looking for? Please follow me through my site as I hope to share my findings in a way that will show that peer feedback can be successful... if done correctly.
In this short 90 second video, you will see why many teachers might be hesitant to use peer feedback in the classroom. My findings from my action research might paint a different picture.