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Verbal v written feedback in computer science?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by harpplayer, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    In my last UK job six years ago, it was insisted by SLT that all feedback to students was in writing. We even had the beyond-stupid demand from the hod to spend lessons printing out screendumps of the last unit, cutting them out to fit an exercise book, sticking them into a book, with students adding a commentary and target, and teachers commenting on them, and students following up on the target with evidence, with teachers commenting on the comment. This was for every unit. In addition, every three weeks, exercise books were expected to have some evidence of work, marked, and every three weeks, a written test had to be given and marked.

    No prizes for guessing a) how stupid this was b) it told noone anything c) it didn't help students get better d) it didn't help teachers e) SLT thought they were tracking progress and it was a wonderful system.

    Now, six years later and running a department, I insist that all teachers in my department (three others) speak one to one with every student for at least five minutes on a two week cycle, discussing work done, commenting on books, organisation, progress.etc. I randomly ask students occasionally about the last teacher chat, to check it happens.

    I also require one auto-marked test half way through a unit (a unit lasts eight to ten weeks), testing key language and terms.

    And one grade for each organised and properly presented portfolio of work at the end of every unit, properly marked in detail with comments, suggestions for improvement and discussed with each student.

    I think this helps students, teachers, SLT and parents.

    We are currently reviewing the feedback we give. My question is, do you think this is about right, too much, not enough info? Feedback from parents and students suggest they are happy, and teachers are okay with the workload.

    Thanks.
     
  2. moscowbore

    moscowbore Lead commenter

    Written feedback is rarely read by students. The bulk of written feedback is not for students though.

    Contextual, timely, verbal feedback is by far the most effective. Looking over the shoulder of a student and pointing out an issue and coming up with a solution with the student steers them back on course.
    Obviously this is only possible in reasonably small well behaved classes.

    I do tests of some kind every half-term. I use past paper questions in exam classes and make up questions for the rest of my classes which require critical thinking by the student. I insist on answers being written by hand and do a lot of peer-marking so that students get the idea of how difficult it is to mark poor English.

    I absolutely do not track "progress". I honestly do not know what that means. I report what the student gets in my assessments and that data gets tortured by management in some way which I could not care less about. If I ever hear anyone mention flightpaths I will resign that day.

    If I believe that a student is not achieving anywhere near their potential, I get the pastoral team involved. I do not do interventions. Al; students are taught during my lessons. If they want extya lessons I suggest that they get a tutor.
     
  3. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    The key question is
    Does any of this feedback have any measurable impact on the students' attainment ?

    From posts passim I don't think it is too hard to guess my opinion.
     
  4. gigaswitch1

    gigaswitch1 Occasional commenter

    When are they supposed to give the 5 minutes verbal feedback; in class or their own time? I have classes of 32 students, 5 minutes a pop is 2.6 hours. How is that posiible? My NQT has just over 300 students, that is 25 hours. Sounds like you are setting your staff up to fail on not meeting your expectations. The self marking quiz, how do they progress from their mistakes? Does a multiple choice quiz that self marks show their learning and how do you give verbal feedback on it (class or otherwise).
    My staff have to mark at the end of the unit, I use sheets that the staff highlight for successes and nextsteps (takes about an 1.5 hours to mark a class) . I normally make the next steps generic because the next units are normally for a different unit. As for progress, I make sure the department are meeting SLT expectations. I am happy if they are learning and SLT can see some type of feedback.
     
  5. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the extra comments. We've completed our review now and are pretty sure what we do is fine. Class size is typically 20. Pupils talked to as a human for five minutes during class over five hours in two weeks about right according to the teachers who have been doing it for the last three years. Pupil feedback excellent. They feel they understand how to get better, feel supported. Parents generally happy but would like to be contacted once per half term rather than once a term. SLT happy that pupils' individual needs are met, some kind of progression being recorded. They aren't interested in trying to measure progress from e.g. a unit on Scratch to e.g. a unit on eSafety and recognise that progression across dissperate units is a silly thing to do. General feeling is the focus on teaching and learning with minimal testing is the right one. Pupils like black and white testing of key terms,and concepts and language via an automarked quiz is veryhelpful (lots of different languages spoken) and fun and would like more of them. All good with a few tweaks.

    Thanks for the input.
     

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