Feedback is an important and much-needed part of learning. It is important that students have a clear understanding of what the goal or end product is so that they don’t feel that they are working just to work. How many of us have heard students ask, “Why are we learning this?” or “When will I ever need this?” Students ask this when they are not motivated to learn because the goal that they are working toward is not clear and obvious. Teachers need to clearly understand what the end goal or product will be, and this needs to be shared with students at the beginning of a unit or lesson.Throughout the unit or lesson the formative assessment and feedback should always be in relation to the goal. Comments such as “good work” or “nice job” are not specific and in relation to the goal. When the goal is presented early on it is more productive to assess formatively and provide feedback toward the goal. For example, if the goal is to narrate an event in the past, feedback such as, “Your mastery of these regular verb forms will help you to speak confidently about what you did last weekend. Now turn your focus to these irregular verb forms that will help you speak or write about more events.” Information from Formative Assessment provides data during the instructional process. Without a clear goal, it is difficult to answer these formative assessment questions:
- Where am I going?
- Where am I now?
- How can I get to where I am going/need to be?
Here are some ways to keep the goal the focus of the a unit or lesson.