Last year, a group of Milford administrators and teachers and began exploring a new approach to improve student achievement. At the August 2015 board meeting, high school English teacher Kirstie Rheinheimer and Mulberry second grade teacher Adam Samuels presented the key findings on a new approach called Feedback.
They committee started by learning about John Hattie’s work, Visible Learning, where a variety of factors are evaluated for their effect on student achievement. Hattie found that the average of all factors – which include things like self-reporting grades, enrichment, and homework, among many others – was .4. This means that anything having an effect size above .4 has an above-average impact on learning, while anything below has a below-average impact.
Following this, they began to learn about a very specific approach called Feedback. Sounds pretty straightforward – and the basis of it is. Yes, the concept is what we all know: give students feedback on their work to help them improve. However, the reality of this looks quite different in different scenarios, and there is actually a process and approach that has been proven to be much more successful in increasing student learning than other approaches.
The most successful Feedback process ensures that students are given very specific and actionable input to take them to the next level. Even more importantly, the new approach to Feedback includes information from students back to the teacher – once again, in very specific ways.
Hattie’s research shows when students receive effective feedback about their learning, their speed of learning doubles!
The art, as described by Ms. Rheinheimer & Mr. Samuels, is “to provide the right form of feedback at or just above the level where the student is working.”
Learning more about this art is the goal for Milford’s professional development efforts this school year: to help our staff understand, use and apply the levels of feedback to enhance student learning and achievement.