Using Classroom Data to Give Systematic Feedback to Students to Improve Learning
The sooner the assessment the better for teacher and student

Introduction

Carol Dwyer, PhD, Educational Testing Service

How can teachers capitalize on data about student learning that are generated in their classrooms every day? How can this information best be collected and used to increase student learning?
Effective feedback  is a great way for teachers to use collected data in order to improve student learning. Unfortunately, feedback opportunities are scarce in most classrooms (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). Teachers can create more opportunities for effective feedback and use collected² formative3 data to improve students’ learning.

Research by Dylan Wiliam and his colleagues have shown important increases in student learning when teachers: 

  • Clearly define the purposes of each lesson that they teach; 

  • Use lessons to collect evidence on how students learn; and 

  • Use collected evidence and promptly re-direct students as needed.

Results from almost any assessment can be of great benefit to students, provided they are used to make instructional adjustments. And — the shorter the amount of time between assessment and adjustment — the more powerful its effect on learning.

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