Peer-written formative feedback: this is how well it really works.

Feedback entry with textI would like to share with you the original inspiration for our current programme of peer-written formative feedback. Back in the Autumn Term, I ran a small-scale competition to test the concept. To my surprise, all the winners came from The Appleton School in Benfleet. Perhaps it was due to the enthusiasm of their teacher, long-time Yacapaca member Hannah Bowen.
The rules were very simple: competitors were given the scenario that a student had chosen the wrong answer in a multiple choice, and they had to provide that student with written feedback. The feedback had to help the student understand the mistake they had made, but not kill their curiosity by giving away the correct answer. That’s a central tenet of formative assessment, as you may know.
Students then voted on each others’ answers, anonymously presented. We used the paired comparisons method of L.L. Thurstone, which has the additional advantage of returning information about who makes the most reliable judgements. Those students count as winners too.
By means of this voting, the students elected one winner for each of the three subjects. Here they are:

ICT Winner was Reagan FURNEVAL (best chooser Jessica BEAN)
Answer 14 You got this wrong because ‘find and replace’ is not to move things around, its to use on one document only and to move to another similar document, from the same system. To move items from one document to another you use ‘find and replace’ but this wont work because its two different systems. Microsoft Access and Microsoft Word are different systems and can not work together. You can transfer documentation, but not whole data and enter automatically. To do that you need to use a different tool.
Science Winner was Madison BRIDGE (best chooser Louise BEESON) 
Answer 10 You can tell that the magnets strongest point isn’t the middle, as if it was the middle part that was the strongest, whatever you were trying to connect to the magnet would go straight into the middle part of the magnet. So in order to get the correct answer you must think about where the object goes to.
Geography Winner was Hannah LITTLE  (best choosers Steven BEAVIS and George ING)
Answer 6 Radiation from the earths core is incorrect as radiation is only waves and it is highly unlikely to travel through masses of rock to reach the earths crust or fill the magma chamber up (fills up by more being generated)
though my personal fave from Madison BRIDGE came second in Geography:
Answer 9 Well this is obviously the incorrect answer, because if this was the correct answer we would all be dying or dead by now because radiation can kill ! So to help you with this maybe you should think about this a bit more and maybe look for things that happen and where about it accures, such as in the air, under water etc., then compare them.

I was pretty impressed with that, but it’s not the end of the story. There is a third stage to this process. Students were asked to explain why they chose the feedbacks statements they did. The answers are pretty revealing:

Exemplar comment on a statement (Science) from student  Byren HACKETT

This answer is better because it is more detailed and a lot easier to follow, also it actually tells the person why he is wrong but the person dont tell him what the answer is. He also says why the person is wrong without giving the correct answer away. Also the explanation is supportive and easy to follow so the person trying to follow this explanation so then they can work out what the answer could actually be.

Exemplar comment on a statement (ICT) from student  Ashley COLE

I think this answer is better because although the answer is short and less descriptive, it’s all that is needed. The other answer is so descriptive , it is quit hard to understand. So if this person needs help they need an answer that will be understandable to a person that is not so familiar with computers.

You can see from all of this that whilst we have made a good start with the ‘blue page’ student feedback entry screens, there is room to develop it into something truly spectacular. Which is exactly what we intend to do over the next term or so. Meanwhile, my congratulations to Hannah and the Appleton School. Yacapaca badges will be on their way to each student mentioned after Easter.


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