Answered By: Pippa [Research & Writing Studio]
Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020     Views: 31

Unfortunately, written comments on papers don't usually result in significant learning for students. Combined with the fact that writing those comments also takes tons of time, there's a lot to be said for focusing on alternative forms of feedback. But how?


We have several tips for saving time while still giving meaningful feedback that supports learning.


Tip #1: Enlist support from the Studio to get students more individualized feedback

If we handle more of the day-to-day feedback, you have more time to support your students in ways only you can. Set up a class partnership with the Studio to get tailored support for your whole class.

Partnerships could be as simple as giving email feedback to each of your students after they've completed a draft, or as in-depth as pairing each student with their own Studio Assistant to meet with throughout the whole quarter.

There are many synchronous and asynchronous partnership options that can be tweaked to fit your goals.


Tip #2: Create assignment rubrics that focus on specific skills

Rubrics are good for you and for students. They narrow down what students most need to practice, so they can focus their efforts better, and they give you a framework for giving focused feedback (instead of trying to assess "everything.")

Rubrics also ensure more equitable grading than is possible when a project has no rubric. Check out these rubric tips from CIIA.

Focused Rubric Example Scenario

Possible Emphasis:
You might choose to emphasize thesis statement quality and good use of sources in your rubric, making it so that there's no need to give scattered feedback about other skills that aren't the main focus of the assignment. Amazing transitions? Meh, not a big deal right now. Citation perfection? Maybe on the next assignment, when these core skills are more solid.

Possible Outcome:
You'd probably be able to read faster, score faster, and re-teach those key skills to students in multiple ways, making it more likely your class could learn to build those new skills instead of just tweaking a sentence or two in response to a comment. Ideally, there would be less stress for all involved.



Tip #3: Try doing whole-class feedback instead of individual feedback.

Instead of reading papers and responding to each student alone, try looking for patterns across student papers and responding by demonstrating what they need to do to improve the pattern.

When you identify the top one or two patterns that most students still need to work on, create a 5 minute screencast for each one, teaching students how to recognize the issue and implement a strategy to fix it. (You can also just demo a strategy during class if you prefer, or one of our premade strategy videos might have already done some of the work for you.)

This method tends to be more effective than paper comments or even one-on-one conferences with students.

If you still decide to do any individual feedback after the group feedback, it can be much simpler and quicker with less need for repetition.


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