Peer review offers feedback in the moment

We have been working most of the year with assessment and pedagogy experts at the NIE (National Institute of Educators) in Singapore, looking at how we can further support authentic assessment and assessment for learning around writing. Peer Review was part of the puzzle that we wanted to solve. It’s now done and ready to go!

Assessment for Learning (AFL) is a bit harder when you are dealing with multiple students and long format text but that’s the challenge we took on and conquered. Peer review plays a key part of AFL. I actually prefer to call Peer Review, Feedback in the Moment. This style of feedback is like a renewable energy in a classroom that builds and amplifies visible and audible stories across learners.

We also looked into the latest feedback research coming from Hattie and Clarke to make sure we were triangulated with current meta research on feedback.  It’s been a busy cycle of development but one we are very happy with. Our thanks also go to the literacy leaders and school improvement leaders (in particular Mark Wooley and Alison Seymour) in the Wollongong Diocese in NSW for their generous time and feedback on the journey.

Research is compelling.

What we re-discovered from the research is that feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student learning, improving student writing skills. Damnation! There is no other silver bullet to improve writing. That being said, not all feedback is the right feedback.

Hattie and Clarke ( Visible Learning – Feedback 2019) found that while feedback is the most powerful influencer on learning , it is also the most variable. These are their conclusions.

  • About  ⅓ of feedback doesn’t work – it’s negative
  • Feedback for one child does not work for another
  • The feedback you give today – doesn’t work for tomorrow

Catering for less variable feedback that potentially can be negative, tailoring feedback for each student and continually re-working the feedback each time a student needs more feedback are covered by Scribo, neutralising the limitations Hattie and Clarke found in static feedback.

Feedback needs to be delivered in the writing moment, made available as close to the writing event as possible. Feedback needs to avoid being negative and critical, change per student and change as needed in a continuum, kind of like a continual assessment against a rubric.

This all sounds great but practically teachers don’t have the time to do all this, all the time. Feedback at three levels is hard time consuming work. It’s time for AI to help teachers and students.

Hattie and Clarke say there are two important parts to feedback that need to be understood.

Finding Number 1 – Feedback is the answer to 1 of 3 questions

  • Where am I going ?
  • How am I going?
  • Where should I go to next?

‘Where I should go next’ is the critical piece of feedback that is most time consuming for a teacher. Thirty plus essays all needing personalised feedback is a massive time challenge and workload. 

The most interesting finding is that “If students don’t get where to next feedback, they say they never got any feedback”. I remember this happening in our house when my boys came home with lots of correction ink but very little connected advice that directed ‘where to next’ feedback about their writing. Teacher’s hard work became a paper basket shot into the bin.

Finding Number 2 –  It’s often not about the feedback you give, it’s about the feedback you hear and see.

How do students and teachers hear and see the feedback from what is happening in classrooms? These are the invaluable stories that need to be seen and  heard.

In schools, the classroom is where teaching and learning happens, it’s the colosseum of collaboration.  For writing, formative practice amplifies the learning and practice of new skills.  Often writing and feedback are very disconnected from the momentum of the classroom reducing the opportunity of immediate reinforcement and guidance.

Although teachers move around the classroom asking questions and giving feedback, when they are not explaining at the front, the last twenty years have been the subject of finding more efficient ways to ensure all students get feedback, from the teacher, and their peers, while they are in the process of learning.

The very essence of formative assessment feedback is the ability to react to the learning during the learning so it can be enhanced before it is too late. 

(Hattie and Clarke, 2020 , Visible Learning - Feedback) Tweet

With Scribo’s new functional Peer review capability, teachers and students  can see and listen to feedback in a 360 degree mode, learning every step of the way. Critically this happens seamlessly, live and without adding more work for anyone. 

Less friction, more stories, more learning! What is the downside of that ! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Welcome to Peer Review or what I like to call –  Feedback in the moment