Traveling the country, speaking with educators in both higher education and K-12, we hear a recurring pain point: I spend so much time providing feedback on student work, and they don’t even read it! They just go right for the grade and ignore the reasons why that grade is there.
Well-written, meaningful feedback provides students with a deeper understanding of their progress and greatly enhances learning and improves student achievement. In today’s data-informed educational landscape, we continuously question the validity of grades—what do they mean? How do they help students learn? They can be arbitrary and uninformative. Yet, students, their parents and even some instructors and school leaders cannot get past their attachment to a system entrenched in a defining currency that has become synonymous with the report cards and transcripts of the American education system. I’ll stop short here as this is worthy of it’s own post.
How do we encourage students to read and process the feedback they are given in a meaningful way and not rely so heavily on the grades that reside in the comfort zone of the status quo?
This is a question we spend a considerable amount of time researching and developing a solution to move students and practitioners of education toward a more authentic way of understanding their learning progress and journey beyond the superficial grade.
After reading Delayed Grade the thought struck us, if we could design a process of feedback, metacognition, and finally grade, what would that look like and how could it ensure learners process feedback, reflect and finally give the students what they think they are hungry for…the grade.
In the first tier of the evaluation process, it is critical that students first read the evaluation comments from the instructor. With a quick check, students validate that they have indeed read feedback and must then, in the second tier of the process, generate a reaction to the feedback. As students interact with the feedback and process through the implication of what their instructors have identified as strengths and as areas requiring further development and learning, they engage in a metacognitive process that dramatically improves learning and increases student success.
We are living in the Attention Economy, we check our phones 150 times a day! With so many distractions and instant dings and beeps in students lives we hope this is a small step to having an application serve a useful purpose. Engaging learners while ensuring instructor feedback is read and reflected upon is the Grade-Game Theory designed for student success.