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Sharing Best PracticeThe new Feedback and Improvement Policy asks teachers to provide a WWW and EBI and a DIRT target when providing feedback on student work. For many of us, this will mean a change in our practice. This article looks at the impact of these changes on both staff and students...

After working on the Feedback and Improvement Policy, I was keen to get a head start using the new approach and have been using WWW (What Went Well?) / EBI (Even Better If...) / DIRT (Directed Improvement and Reflection Time) for my feedback for a few weeks.

Under previous school and faculty policies, my feedback and student responses generally looked like this:

Mistakes and errors were highlighted and annotated and T used to indicate DIRT tasks. Generally, this led to good student responses and improvements. This was supported by student voice and QA evidence.

Under the new Feedback and Improvement Policy, my feedback and student response now looks like this:

To begin with, I found this approach slower. I was writing more but also thinking more deeply about what I was saying to my students. Previously I had given them a DIRT task in writing but relied on verbal feedback for the WWW and hoped / assumed that the EBI was implicit in the DIRT task. Now, I am considering more carefully the feedback I give. Now that I am in the habit of providing feedback this way, I am getting much quicker and marking time is comparable to my previous approach. I am also going to have another go at coding feedback and asking the students to write down targets from the board, which I hope will further speed up my marking.

Since starting this new approach, I have had a drop in and work scrutiny and evidence from these shows that student responses to feedback are good – they are writing more than me, responding effectively to feedback and making improvements in subsequent work. Evidence from conversations with students shows that they are much more aware of what they are doing well, which they say has boosted their confidence and, they think, will allow continued success. Having EBI targets and DIRT tasks relating to similar issues, they say, means that they have a clearer picture of what they have been doing wrong, or not as well, and helps them to understand the point of each task.

Overall I am a fan of the new approach. Yes, it initially took me longer to mark each set of books (which was a concern), but with practice I have reduced this time considerably. Providing feedback in this way also means that I have a better understanding of each student and that the students have a better understanding of their own progress and how to improve this. As I and my students become more used to this new approach to feedback, I hope to see further improvements in progress and in the time it takes me to provide this clearly very useful feedback. Given the comments I have received from students I am also hopeful that, with all staff using a consistent approach to feedback, student confidence and awareness of their strengths and areas for improvement will show a marked (no pun intended) increase.

For future marking, I am going to try giving students coded feedback and asking them to copy their WWW / EBI / DIRT targets from the board. I hope this will further reduce the time it takes to mark and give feedback on work, especially if I can predict in advance many of the errors, mistakes or misunderstandings I expect to see in students' work. I will write another post once I have tried this with a few classes to show how that has gone.

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