The ability to give and receive feedback effectively is a critical skill for learning and collaborating. Leveraging research conducted by UCLA on calibrated peer review, Leadership Public Schools (LPS) teachers developed a prototype tool called Collective Feedback Tool (CFT). The first aim was to facilitate self, peer, and teacher feedback in sustainable and powerful ways. The secondary goal was to figure out a way for students and teachers to measure the alignment of student feedback, with both other peers as well as their teacher. The process includes reflection and goal setting components to support student awareness of their strengths and growth areas, both holistically and at the granular level of category bands within rubrics.
The tool is set up such that teachers can use the entire work flow or isolated sections, whichever best fits the needs of their class. The entire workflow is as follows:
Task: Students review a task and the way they will be given feedback (usually a rubric). Students complete and submit the task.
Calibration: The teacher has students evaluate a sample piece of work. The tool reveals the difference between the teacher and student assessments of the example down to the category level. The teacher intervenes at a class, group, or individual level based on the results (and may do another calibration task) before allowing students to proceed and give each other feedback.
Peer Feedback: Students give anonymous feedback referencing a level for each rubric category and providing a written justification for why to a set number of peers (i.e. 3). Students receive the same number of pieces of feedback for their own work submission.
Self-Assessment: Students assess themselves against the same rubric.
Intervention: The teacher uses the tool to identify any feedback outside of a set acceptable range, i.e. a group of three students are off by a huge amount on how they evaluated a piece of work on the “Thesis” category of a rubric. This prompts the teacher to review their work against the expectations within that category, so as to ensure actionable feedback and performance for those students, as well as their suggestions to their peers. On the other hand, feedback that is within the margin of error and tightly aligned is accepted outright, though can be reviewed by the teacher on a random basis. This protocol cuts down on the necessity of teacher-centric feedback, creating more time for direct coaching on the skill of feedback itself and bolstering student agency and accountability.
Reflection: Students review and reflect on the feedback they received and determine the next steps for honing their skill sets and improving their work product, perhaps with teacher-led mini lessons on common errors. Students are also prompted to be metacognitive of the process of providing and receiving feedback, referencing their data on one or more tasks to consider their strengths and growth areas vis a vis specific skills delineated in each rubric strand.
Feedback is one of the most effective means to support student learning, which has been substantiated by extensive research. Bringing peer feedback into the experience makes the process more student-centered, generates greater buy-in, and produces a better understanding of the mastery criteria guiding the feedback by having students authentically engage with it. The self-assessment, reflection, and goal-setting components help students feel more supported, develop a sense of agency, and build a clear understanding of what next steps should be to attenuate the gap between their current level of mastery and that of their goals. Students can recognize proficiency before they can enact it in their own work, and the process of seeing multiple authentic exemplars at various levels of achievement can be a powerful lever to drive student success, as a rising tide lifts all boats. Ultimately, culling data on students’ ability to provide actionable feedback is its own nuanced way of assessing the skills in one’s course, as well as fostering student agency and leadership.
Teachers can implement the entire flow or still find value in using a part of it (i.e. calibration only, self-assessment only, or just the peer feedback piece). This is by design, allowing teachers and students to grow into the practice as they expand their capacity.