Action Research Area: Developing Self and Peer Assessment Autumn 2017-Spring 2018
Researcher: R Clargo (Winchcombe Abbey Primary)
Context: Year 5, English and general classroom practice
Desired Outcomes: To improve the quality of written and verbal feedback within Self and Peer Assessment
Rationale: Across our school there is much evidence of both peer and self-assessment; the children are used to looking at and responding to one another’s work. In response to our discussions and reading around Dylan Wiliam’s research, two areas touched a nerve with me: quality of assessment and pupil’s views about, and responses to feedback (i.e. the emotional versus the ‘thinking’ response). We are ready now to take this to the next level; to finely tune the quality of the feedback given to further promote learning, moving away from the tick-box type culture of assessment.
Area 1 – Quality of feedback and self-assessment
Context: English lesson. Children had ‘peer-assessed’ a piece of writing, instructed to refer to the ‘Writing Toolkit’ and give their partner a ‘What Went Well (WWW) and an ‘Even Better If You (EBIY)
Samples of children’s real written feedback were collected and typed up. Children were asked to evaluate and sort the comments according to different criteria (e.g. kind/unkind; helpful/unhelpful, made me think/didn’t make me think; general/specific).
My own analysis showed that roughly 50% of the feedback was of general/unhelpful/generating a feeling kind of feedback).
It was also noted that when assessing using checklists, children ticked boxes (for example, ‘has a conclusion’) but were unable to demonstrate where it was in the text!
As part of the lesson and to date, we have looked at how we could improve feedback to make it more helpful for the learner- how could we generate thinking and reflection rather than feeling?
To date the quality of feedback in improving, demonstrating increased use of more focused feedback, relating specifically to the task. We will continue to develop this in English, and begin to look at developing peer feedback in maths, looking at how to move beyond simply marking each other’s work,
Context: English lesson. The use of WAGOLLs (What a Good One Looks Like- an exemplar piece of writing)
The class are used to using WAGOLLs as part of the unpicking of text type and genres; highlighting features of the text etc.
I was interested in further developing this to improve the use peer and self- assessment, by using not one but several WAGOLLs. I presented the class with 3 different, but high quality pieces of writing and charged them with ordering the pieces of writing. They would have justify their ordering, referring to evidence in the texts:
• The children really enjoyed this activity, seeing real work of ex-pupils
• The quality of discussion was high
• Children were observed picking out features of the text (‘they have a balanced arguments’; ‘the conclusion sums up the discussion’)
• They were able to justify their opinions, supporting it with evidence.
• They were not all in agreement about which was the best, which generated further high quality discussion
Conclusion: The activity had definite impact on the quality of writing; the use of different example gave children a deeper pool of ideas to draw on. I will continue to use this strategy when introducing new text types and hope to encourage staffing other classes to try it.
Area 2 Pupils’ views of feedback and responses to it
Context: General learning- discussion about types of feedback (teacher, peer and self-assessment)
I wanted to gain the views of children about the different types of feedback, so generated an online questionnaire for the children to complete anonymously, and add comments if they wished. The results are here to view, but broadly the children still seemed to favour teacher’s feedback, and feedback generated emotive responses.
Conclusion: I plan to repeat the questionnaire at the end of the year, with a view to seeing how/if after improving the quality of feedback (Area 1) this impacts on their views about feedback.