At our most recent book talk, we discussed the effectiveness of providing students with feedback to boost learning. It reminded me of the tremendous impact that feedback has in the teaching-learning cycle, and by providing effective feedback to students we can accelerate learning.
John Hattie’s Know Thy Impact article is a great one to highlight how teachers can have the greatest impact through the feedback they give to students. There are some essential elements in feedback that make it much more effective, but I often hear teachers say, “I know how to give effective feedback, but when I am in the moment I forget.” If you keep 2 steps in mind when providing feedback, you can boost the effect size from 0.11 to 1.42! Here’s how.
STEP 1: Use SEA
I like to use the acronym SEA that I learned at an Eric Jensen training years ago. SEA stands for Strategy, Effort, and Attitude. Just saying “good job” to someone has an effect size of 0.11, which is very minor. When you link the feedback you provide to someone to the strategy they used, the effort they put forth, or the attitude they had to tackle the learning, it increases the effect size to 0.74, and that is big! With an effect size like that, a student can make 1.5 to 2 years of growth.
For example, “John, I like the strategy you used to keep track of your notes today by sorting them into two sides, I haven’t seen you use that strategy before.”
STEP 2: Attribution Theory
When you can attribute the strategy, effort, or achievement to a behavior you observed in the past or a probably behavior in the future, you can increase the effect size to 1.42. Wow! That is really Big!
For example, “John, I like the strategy you used to keep track of you notes today by sorting them into two sides, I have never seen you use that strategy before and that is going to help you study and retain what you are learning for the next quiz.”
What would this sound like if you want to give corrective feedback?
“John, I noticed that you have been distracted in class today and your effort has declined because you have only written two ideas on your paper.”
“John, I noticed that you have been distracted in class today and your effort has declined because you have only written two ideas on your paper. On your last essay you stayed focused and put forth great effort. Because of that, it was the best work you have produced.”
“John, I appreciate the attitude you brought to class today. You came into class today smiling, prepared, and ready to learn!”
“John, I appreciate the attitude you brought to class today. You came into class today smiling, prepared, and ready to learn! Because of that, you are going to learn so much more to prepare for Friday’s quiz!”
Try using SEA and attribution and see what happens to the learning in your classroom.