Tag Archives: Feedback

Working on a series of blog posts about lab report feedback

Wow, I have been really bad with blogging lately. No excuses this time.

But I am working on a series of blog posts over at ChemEdX-Change related to giving feedback on lab reports. This is a big emphasis of mine this year as I’ve got a group of seniors in the first year of a new IB Chemistry syllabus. I’d love to see some really high quality lab reports – and I think meaningful feedback could help with that.

The first post is related to the logistics, aka work flow, I’ve created for providing the feedback on student lab reports. Here is the link. The next blog post will be about creating a comment bank to use for the lab reports. I’ve written about that previously here, but I’m re-exploring the idea and trying it again. More on that later.

Until next time, keep it #MintyFresh!



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Filed under ChemEd X-Change

Using Google Forms for Fomative Assessment Within My Flipped DP Chemistry Classroom

This year I’ve worked really hard at increasing my formative assessment so I can modify my teaching and utilize the class time more effectively. This has (until recently) mostly taken the form of exit polls that students complete. These exit polls (a.k.a. closure activies) have been invaluable. See a discussion here about my use of this data and how I have modified my teaching based on this data.

But I wanted to go further than exit polls, and create something along the lines of an entrance poll. Given that I utilize a flipped model, I decided to embed the formative assessment within my videos. I now include what I’ve called Checkpoint Questions. These currently take three forms: multiple choice, free response and calculation. I create notes handouts for students that act as graphic organizers. These notes handouts include the Checkpoint Questions, so students complete them as they go through my videos. Then when they are finished, they take a survey (through Google Forms, linked here) where they provide their answers, optional feedback on my video, and any questions they still have about the content.

In the morning before I set up for the day, I check the results. If quite a few students either don’t answer, or miss the answers to my questions I then start the lesson with the Checkpoint Questions in order to review. Then I create a slide in my daily PowerPoint where I simply copy-and-paste their questions from the video. I address them as needed. This has certainly proven beneficial to the daily routine of my classes.

It’s a bit early in the process for anything definitive in the way of results, but I’m collecting feedback on the method and will keep you updated as things develop.

Until next time.


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Filed under Flipped Classroom, Pedagogy

Student feedback on whiteboarding

I’ve been using Whiteboarding for a while now (as mentioned in some previous blog posts) and I wanted to reflect on some student feedback and elicit some input from modelers and whiteboarders out there about a question/comment from a student.

For Topic 9 in my DP Chemistry class, I used whiteboarding extensively for helping students draw voltaic and electrolytic cells. After their test, I asked them for some feedback. But first, in terms of test results, I’d say this is the best I’ve ever taught Topic 9, but there were still some mistakes with the voltaic and electrolytic cells, so I need to modify how I used whiteboarding next time.

The students gave a numerical answer to the following question, “On a scale from 1-4, how helpful were the ‘whiteboarding’ sessions where you practiced drawing voltaic and electrolytic cells?” The average rating was 3.57, with 7 students responding out of a class of 12. I assigned the SkyDrive survey as homework after the test. It included a question about review for our last Friday class before the holiday. Students completed the survey anonymously.

Below are some student comments with my reflection:

  • “Whiteboarding helped me with 9.4 and 9.5.”
    • 9.4 and 9.5 involve voltaic and electrolytic cells, so I was glad to see this student recognize my goals in using the whiteboarding. Based on overall test scores, it wasn’t quite enough, but it was a step in the right direction.
  • “It is a really good way of learning visual things as we can actually draw them and see how they work, rather than just reading them on paper.”
    • I was also really glad to see the students recognize the benefit of whiteboarding for the concepts that are more visual.
  • “I gave a 2 because I felt like I wasn’t doing any of the thinking for coming up with the voltaic/electrolytic cell since my thinking wasn’t as fast paced as that of my classmates. Maybe if we had the chance to try it on our own first in the future?”
    • So this brings me to a question for you modelers and whiteboarders. This student has a legitimate point about whiteboarding. In the context of using it for Topic 9, I typically only did one or  two problems each day. Normally, I might do multiple problems and ask students to rotate who controls the pen. But for this topic, that didn’t happen. This student is suggesting some individual work following by group discussion. That’s similar to a review technique I use with Learning Catalytics (a version of clickers, blogged about here) and I think this group of students really likes the structure of these review sessions where students think on their own first, then talk about their answers.

My overall thoughts on whiteboarding haven’t changed. I still think it is a valuable learning tool. I appreciate this student’s honest feeback, though, to make sure I attend to the needs of individual learning styles by varying the details.

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Filed under Pedagogy

Creating an MYP Science and DP Chemistry Comment Bank

My school has a focused professional growth and evaluation plan that involves a Personal Teaching Initiative (PTI). The PTI asks us to find some part of our practice that we’d like to improve. This year I chose feedback, as I’d like to improve not only how quickly I provide feedback but the quality of my feedback. And to add to the ‘high quality’ feedback discussion, I’m working on finding methods to actually engage students in my feedback so that it is used more effectively.

To that end I’m creating a comment bank for my MYP chemistry labs and for my DP chemistry labs. They will not be the same, as they are based on different criteria. There are two main reasons I’m creating the comment banks. First, I am trying to make marking more efficient so I can complete it quickly – yet still effectively. Second, I am hopeful that my comments in the comment bank will actually be more descriptive/explanatory, and thus of more value to the students.

Last weekend I marked a set of labs for my MYP chemistry class and created the comment bank as I went along. The comment bank can be found here. I simply added comments to the comment bank that were used multiple times within my class of 20. On the lab report of a particular student, the raw data table might say “E.1” for the comment. The student then goes to the comment bank (linked on my class website) and sees that E.1 means, “Uncertainty (or uncertainties) missing from raw data table.”  When I have time, I’d ideally like to add more detail (see the “second reason” above for my justification). For E.1 the extra detail might be a sample data table that actually has proper uncertainties. If you have feedback on the MYP comment bank, I’d love to hear it! And feel free to borrow the comment bank and make it your own.

Now for my DP comment bank, I’m interested in getting some feedback on actual comments to include. Therefore I’ve created a survey (linked here) for people to add to my comment bank. If you have a comment that you use repeatedly in marking your DP students’ work, please share it here. If you complete my survey, I ask at the end if you’d like me to email you a copy of the results. Once I am done (give it a few weeks or more), I’ll compile the comments – trying to condense the comments that are similar – into a new comment bank and share that with interested teachers. I am asking you to share your email in the survey. I will not use your email for any purpose other than to send you the results when I am finished. And I will not share your email with anybody else.

I plan on sharing my impressions of using the comment bank with my classes, along with a few of the strategies I’ve developed (or borrowed from others!) to engage students with my feedback.

Thanks for your help.

Until then, happy marking!


Filed under Feedback