At this year’s International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, Amy Kelly, a social studies teacher at Clear Spring High School in Maryland, shared how she transformed her classroom’s culture with immediate feedback – and the help of GradeCam.
How Immediate Feedback Can Improve Classroom Culture
Amy discovered GradeCam six years ago.
“Before GradeCam, I was spending two weeks with my Scantrons and hand compiling all my data by standard by student. It took me forever, but it was data that I needed to better teach my students in my AP courses. That led me to ask how would providing student data in a day or even minutes could change the outcome of student learning and I couldn’t help but think that would be transformative.”
Having the data was transforming her classroom, but she was noticing some negative mindsets the students were holding that she wanted to change. Amy looked into educational research to find out what it takes to create a positive classroom culture. The four characteristics are trust, empowerment, acceptance, and challenge.
She started by using GradeCam to provide timely feedback which led to less test anxiety and more trust with her students.
“By using all the functions GradeCam provides, I was able to transform my room into a place where I’m giving constant feedback. I’m tracking that feedback every day and it’s not creating any more work or costing me any more time. It’s actually saving me and my students a lot of time.”
Amy gets immediate feedback with several different types of formative assessments. Here are just two examples:
Practice Multiple-Choice: Amy considers this her go-to empowerment tool for students. She creates short multiple-choice assessments that can be graded at a station in her classroom. The students know these scores will not be put in the gradebook and, thus, creates less anxiety for the students. They are practicing mastering that skill.
Even though it’s not for a grade, Amy still gets the data. Student and teacher alike know their progress towards mastering each skill.
Open-Ended Questions: Amy uses a purposeful strategy of asking open-ended questions. She has conversations with students, and, in the back of her mind, is linking those questions to a standard.
She marks on a rubric form where that student is in verbalizing what they understand. She scans it each day, building a data set throughout the week. By Friday, she can confidently tell where students are and show them their growth or revisit a misconception. This practice builds students’ acceptance and trust.
GradeCam has helped me create an amazing classroom culture. It has revolutionized my classroom.
– Teacher Amy Kelly
Immediate feedback makes a huge difference when giving summative assessments.
Unit Exams: Amy scans her unit exams immediately. Before students leave the room, it’s already in the gradebook and her students’ test anxiety is gone.
Creating a culture of transparency, she reviews the data as a class to determine how they did on the standards and investigate where they went wrong.
“That immediate feedback is going to transform their learning because students are going to forget the test when they walk out of the room, but they aren’t going to forget if I already have the data and we review immediately. We don’t have to go back to it, we can just keep building.”
Project-Based Learning: Amy also teaches an AP Seminar, which depends upon project-based learning. She grades these with rubrics and links each row with a standard. That way she can track whether or not students have met that criteria.
Having everything graded so quickly may seem like students aren’t involved in the process; however, Amy makes sure they are engaged every step of the way:
Scoring: They are empowered to score their own assessments, challenge themselves, correct their own work, and rescore.
Practice Multiple-Choice: They know these assessments aren’t going in gradebook. Every missed question isn’t a failure, but an opportunity to improve.
Analyzing and Discussing Their Own data: Amy has built a culture of collaboration. Having the data on which standards each student excels, she can pair students to help each other with individual strengths and weaknesses.
What Classroom Culture Transformation Looks Like
The difference that immediate feedback makes in Amy’s classroom:
“This has transformed the culture of my room. Students aren’t always coming to me for the answers. They are going to their peers because they know where their strengths lie. They can say: ‘You are stronger in this than me and maybe I can help you out in something else.’ Having that culture of acceptance and trust not only with me as the teacher but with each other has been incredible to see and has been so valuable.
And at the same time, that is a life skill students need to know. They need to understand their weaknesses aren’t bad, it’s just a place in which they can grow. They also have strengths they can help others with. That’s really empowering for the students.”
If you’re ready to create a classroom culture of collaboration and immediate feedback, get started with your 60-day free trial today!