I remember a drawing class for my Interior Design program during my first year of college. I was not a good artist at all (which is why I chose Interior Design instead of fine arts). And although I tried my best and kept practicing and practicing, I struggled to draw human structures. Hands, eyes, noses; I couldn’t draw them well, But I did improve by the end of the semester. Unfortunately, the professor didn’t grade on improvement, he graded by comparison. Specifically, he the final drawings for the class and put them next to each other. The best ones got an A and the worst a D. I ended up with a D in that class. I was a 3.8 GPA student before that D. Needless to say, I was devastated and ended up leaving that college (fortunately I did find my calling!).
Of course, there are skills where certain standards must be met (I wouldn’t want my surgeon to be just okay), but if we don’t provide effective and timely feedback to our students, they won’t have the tools needed to improve. The learning process is just that, a process.
The UDL guidelines says that instructors should provide feedback that:
- encourages perseverance, focuses on development of efficacy and self-awareness, and encourages the use of specific supports and strategies in the face of challenge
- emphasizes effort, improvement, and achieving a standard rather than on relative performance
- is frequent, timely, and specific
- is substantive and informative rather than comparative or competitive
- models how to incorporate evaluation, including identifying patterns of errors and wrong answers, into positive strategies for future success1
With CrossBraining, frequent and timely feedback is easy. Whether students are tasked to re-create something you’ve demonstrated or perform a skill at a mastery level, CrossBraining provides the means in which students can self-assess, reflect, and develop their skills in a safe learning environment.
Therefore, provide feedback to students that will encourage them to move forward and strive for better. View each student individually and without comparison. Allow for self-evaluation along with using feedback to foster a desire for improvement, and in turn, the student will sustain the motivation needed for continued learning.
- CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org