The Benefits of Earlier Feedback
by Christina Lin on Friday, October 11th, 2013
The upcoming Parents’ Weekend marks two important events: the arrival of parents to the Milton community and the release of teacher comments. While both events cause stress, students typically find comments more nerve-wracking. Comments, which evaluate student progress throughout the first months of the school year, naturally make students feel judged. Keeping in mind the series of mental struggles that ensue after one receives comments, many should question the effectiveness of the current system. After endlessly stressing over grades, many students have pleaded for these reports not to be released before Parents’ Weekend.
However, while comments do lead to stress, the upside is that students have a sense of how they are doing in the class and how they can improve. In a period of a single week, teachers meet with students numerous times, during which they have the opportunity to evaluate the success of their students. In addition, various assessments have already suggested students’ academic capabilities. Therefore, teachers have sufficient evidence to evaluate their students’ grasp on the course’s materials.
A Milton education encourages its students to not only understand a course’s content, but also develop learning strategies. Comments point towards a student’s’ strengths or weaknesses, since multiple factors are part of an individual’s accurate assessment of him or herself. However, teachers can easily comprehend a student’s qualifications. Teachers at Milton have taught a multitude of students, easily and quickly identifying certain problems, while offering their advice on how opinion on how to solve these problems early. With so much of the school year left, students could begin to improve themselves by following their teacher’s advice. If these issues are identified later in the year, there is less time for improvement, and constant failure would drive a child away from a subject.
On top of helping students to improve, the comments also prepare for meetings with teachers, thus making the meeting sessions during Parents’ Weekend more productive and efficient. Without comments, the teachers would need to take time to describe the students’ performance to parents during the scheduled meeting, losing precious time to discuss future improvements. After the description, parents would need some time to digest what they just heard and ask questions, and then discuss solutions with teachers. With comments, lots of the procedures mentioned above can be eliminated. Parents can read the comments beforehand and come to the meetings prepared with questions. The meetings simply need to target on these questions. So, receiving comments before Parents’ Day helps parents to discuss with teachers as well.
Sending out comments before Parents’ Day sets up a perfect situation where both students and parents are able to communicate with teachers. Despite the stress from receiving comments from the teachers, enduring these judgments are ultimately very beneficial for our progress in school.
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