So what should feedback on homework and assessments look like?
I remember the days jotting comments to students on their writing hoping they understood what I meant. Had Google Apps for Education been invented, I would have had a deeper impact on every student because detailed comments can be typed or audio recorded for students. When I speak to my daughters about what they are doing, I am giving immediate feedback about what they are doing well and not so well. It's the immediate feedback that is so important. The feedback is spoken and relevant to them.
We need to stop giving points on papers and tests and give immediate feedback to students either physically or virtually. How does a classroom teacher accomplish this?
One suggestion is stop giving busy work and then trying to grade it all. Instead, immerse students in long-term cognitively deep work that requires multiple steps and collaboration. In this context teachers are free to move about the room freely to talk to groups, individual students, and give RTI within a class.
Another suggestion, stop giving homework. A student said to me the other day, "Why do I want to do homework when I've spent 7 hours at school already?" The traditionalist in me says homework is how school work. The pragmatist in me says the kid is right. Giving homework when none needs to be given is hard work for an educator because homework is always given. The homework has to be checked or collected which reduces the amount of time teachers have with students in class to deepen their learning through discussion group or individual.
High quality feedback is a necessity if you want to students progress to mastery learning in our classrooms.