22-23 Learning Teaching Excellence

Put Actionable Feedback in the Driver’s Seat

Actionable feedback means not only identifying what needs improvement, but also offering a plan of action to make the necessary improvement possible.”

Actionable Feedback is Essential for Growth by Starr Sackstein, Edweek.com

When I began working on a targeted improvement plan which would improve the daily practices of the teaching teams in our middle school, I had no idea how much I would enjoy the process. Gathering inspiration from the CTTL Summer Leadership Academy, I created a plan to guide the middle school faculty through a reflection process that analyzed how we provided feedback to our students. The target was both a day-to-day analysis and a meta-analysis of the overall reflections process we facilitate.

None of the reflection exercises would have value without an overall purpose statement or mission. The CTTL reframes this statement as a “Success Statement,” or the way I would define a successful implementation of a new strategy or program. For the actionable feedback initiative, I used the following success statement:

Success Statement: Advisors, students, and families utilize a feedback system which defines student-specific performance while identifying various areas of success and/or improvement. The system should then create actionable improvement strategies where applicable.

Seems pretty simple, right? But the goal of the Success Statement is not necessarily innovation but a picture of what the final product to do or say. Our tactic for the year has been consistently revisiting the feedback process in middle school division meetings interlaced with leadership conversations about how we will direct the feedback conversation. These leadership meetings included administrative personnel and grade-level deans, who serve as a voice for their grade-level teams.

This post doesn’t go into the details of our process, but it was fascinating to review what we are currently doing and how we could improve this feedback process. I was particularly elated to see the engagement demonstrated by our faculty across the board. When building in the “one more” things, a school leader should be selective and intentional about what they ask of the academic team. Their time is precious, so any additional work must add meaning. For reference, here is a screenshot of the document which provides an overview for our actionable feedback over the course of the year. (Note that the document includes both student and faculty feedback).

Should you like to dive deeper into this conversation, please feel free to inquire. I’d love to talk about my discoveries and the fantastic work accomplished by our middle school team.

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