Online project feedback

Why we do this

The work sample and project feedback are complementary experiences--one had before students get started on their own work and one after--that tie together the work they're doing in class and their interactions with you into one coherent project. Project feedback also deepens the students' relationships with partners because your comments communicate:

  1. you're paying attention to what they're doing in class (i.e., you care),

  2. you see and share their strengths (and weaknesses), and

  3. you are trying to help them succeed (i.e., you see a future in which they do this kind of work)

How to give project feedback online

The online project feedback workflow includes a few handoffs among students, partners, and teachers. First, teachers or students select up to 3 of their works-in-progress to serve as representative samples of students' work and add these to the Files shared with the partner folder of your project. Partners then leave 1 comment for each skill students are learning on each of the student work samples. Afterwards, it's often helpful if teachers synthesize the partner feedback and discuss with students how it applies to everyone.

We'll cover the steps for everyone involved because it can be useful to know how your work fits into the bigger picture. If you'd like to jump straight to the instructions that pertain to you, though, click the appropriate heading in the table of contents.

Students (or teachers): pick 3 student work samples

We can't expect a single partner to leave individual feedback for every single student's work-in-progress. Instead, we'll pick a representative sample.

How to pick a representative sample

The teacher can review all the student work and pick the best 3 samples or the students can agree on which 3 to submit themselves. Organize all the works in progress into no more than 3 broad groups that share similar answers to the following questions:

  1. What approach to the project does the work-in-progress rely on most?

  2. Which step of the process or feature of the work product has the work-in-progress struggled with the most? Bonus: which skill that students are learning during the project does this part or feature rely on most, and does the struggle reflect a high or low skill level?

  3. Pick a unique step taken in the process or feature of the work-in-progress. What is unique about this step or feature? Bonus: which skill that students rae learning during the project does this part or feature rely on most, and does the unique step or feature reflect a high or low skill level?

After you've grouped the works-in-progress, pick 1 from each group to best represents the distinctive qualities of the group. You will get feedback on this work-in-progress.

It can be both fun and useful to make this a reflective class activity. Represent the answers to these questions for each work-in-progress on separate sticky notes

Add the chosen works-in-progress to the folder shared with the partner

In the folder associated with the project, open the folder called Files shared with the partner. This is the same folder that holds the expert work samples from the partner.

Add the works-in-progress to this folder. Sidekick will scan the files for security or compliance issues and then share them with the partner as student work samples.

Partners: give project feedback online (template included)

Giving project feedback is not about assessing students. It's about showing students (and teachers) what different skill levels look like in the given work, advising them how they could improve no matter what level they're at, and motivating them to do so.

Get familiar with the annotated expert work sample process

The project feedback process is almost the same as the process used for the annotated expert work sample. If you need a refresher on how to annotate an expert work sample, then review the in-depth guide and then return here.

Project feedback differs from making an annotated work sample in just a handful of ways:

  • You're commenting on students' work samples instead of your own.

  • You're leaving comments on up to 3 samples instead of 1.

  • The feedback you leave includes next steps for improvement.

  • Each comment should address a different combination of skill and skill level.

Find the student work samples (up to 3 samples)

Find the Files shared with the partner folder related to your project. This is the same folder where that holds any uploaded expert work samples. Once the students or teachers have uploaded the student work samples, you should find them in there too. They should only have added up to 3 files. If you see student work samples in there, pick 3 to focus on.

For each student work sample, leave 1 feedback per skill students are learning (up to 3 skills)

For every file student work sample, follow almost the same process used in annotating an expert work sample. You'll still leave 1 feedback per skill students are learning in class. Rather than identifying features where skill level makes the biggest, most noticeable difference, though, spot features that best reveal the skill level of the owners of the work samples.

Then, instead of explaining how you used the skill in a feature and how your skill level at the time influenced the output, explain why the feature reveals the skill level you chose.

Then, advise students how they could improve their skill level as part of the project. Ground your advice in your personal experience. Practically, this means answering, "What task, relevant to and doable during this project, did I do or would I have done on similar projects to improve my skill? How can students follow in my footsteps?"

In theory, if they improve their skill level in the way you advise, the feature you're leaving feedback on would change to reveal a higher skill level.

Use the modified template to guide your feedback.

Skill: SKILL

This feature looks like it was made by someone at this skill level because DEFINING_ATTRIBUTE_OF_THE_FEATURE.

When I was at this skill level on a similar project, I would SKILL_BUILDING_TASK to get better this skill. I'd know I was improving because this feature would CHANGE_IN_FEATURE_DONE_AT_A_HIGHER_SKILL_LEVEL.

Leave only 1 feedback per combination of Skill and skill Level

Remember, the point of project feedback is not to grade students. These are only a sample of all the students' works-in-progress, and students and teachers use your feedback to better understand how different skills at varying skill levels show up in their real-world work. It's important to give a wide range of feedback that covers a lot of different scenarios.

To do so, make sure to only leave 1 piece of feedback for a given Skill and skill Level across all of the student work samples. In other words, don't leave the same kind of feedback twice. It's a bit like bingo. Once you've given feedback around a specific skill at a specific skill level, place a "chip" over that "square" and you can't use it again.

In fact, feel free to make a copy of the below Feedback Bingo board to help you with the process.

Repeat the following process for all of the student work samples you picked.

You only need to leave a maximum of 9 pieces of feedback in all. You need to leave feedback aligned to a maximum of 3 skills on a maximum of 3 student work samples. That means you should need to leave a maximum of 9 pieces of feedback for the entire project feedback process.

Teachers: synthesize the project feedback

After the partner provide feedback on the student work samples, you may want to incorporate the feedback into your own assessments of all students' work. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but to give you some ideas:

  • Make the analysis and synthesis of the feedback an in-class activity, similar to the suggested activity for picking student work samples in the first place

  • Share the feedback and then have students conduct formative peer or self assessments, using the feedback on the samples as a guide.

  • Partners provided broad coverage of skills and skill levels in their feedback, which you could use as the basis of a performance-based rubric.


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