Virtual School Meanderings

May 14, 2022

Standards In Practice: NSQ Online Teaching

An item from this “national standards” initiative.

Standard Highlight:  Online Teaching

Standard D: Learner Engagement
D:  The online teacher promotes learner success through interactions with learners and other stakeholders and by facilitating meaningful learner engagement in learning activities.  

D5:  The online teacher helps learners reach content mastery through instruction and quality feedback using various formats.

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Short description:   Quality feedback is an integral part of any instructional setting, however; the format of the online classroom necessitates a greater level of clarity and specificity in feedback as students may have fewer moments to seek clarity from their teacher throughout the school day. At VHS Learning, our courses are asynchronous, so teachers are asked to provide substantive, specific, and actionable feedback on critical assignments each week to ensure students can understand their next steps in their work. We ask that teachers ensure clarity and use asset-based language to allow the student to accept their feedback.

The following examples and resources are included in the VHS Learning Teacher Resource Area and are used to help teachers hone their practice of delivering quality feedback to their students.

By Stacy Young who oversees teacher quality as the Associate Dean of Instruction at VHS Learning. 

Helpful Hints for putting the standard into practice

Qualities of Effective Feedback 

Feedback does not have to be complicated or overly time-consuming. Remember to base feedback on a set of qualities will help the teacher to create effective feedback for their students. Effective feedback is:

  • Timely — student receives feedback in time to improve future learning

  • Specific — feedback points to specific areas of strength and areas for growth

  • Actionable — students can take feedback and act on it

  • Asset-based — feedback focuses on what a student can do rather than what they did not do

  • Related to learning goals – feedback should reflect the goals and objectives of lessons or units of study

  • Constructive — feedback is designed to support student’s academic and social-emotional growth

  • Iterative — feedback reinforces and builds on previous feedback

Types of Feedback 

Students complete a variety of assignments every week. Some assignments measure a student’s knowledge or comprehension, some the application of learning, and some the important elements of synthesizing, analyzing, and critiquing. There are different types of feedback that should be provided throughout a VHS Learning course. These include:

  1. Content-related feedback: This type of feedback is specific to the content or mechanics of the assignment that supports students in applying their ever-developing, expanding understanding of the content being studied.

  1. Probing feedback: This type of feedback provides a question or prompt to encourage, support, and even inspire students to advance their thinking.

  1. Suggestive feedback: This type of feedback provides suggestions or ideas to encourage and even inspire students to demonstrate their understanding of the content being studied.

Resources to support standard use.

Feedback “Formula” 

It can help to use a “formula” to craft effective written feedback. The formula includes four parts:

Ways to Deliver Feedback 

Within the course platform, there are many tools to help teachers deliver effective feedback.

Author and Organization Bio 

Stacy Young oversees teacher quality as the Associate Dean of Instruction at VHS Learning. Stacy taught middle school and high school for fifteen years before joining the Center for Collaborative Education where she was the Director of the Massachusetts Personal Learning Network. At CCE, she worked with schools and districts around building quality performance assessments, school redesign, and professional learning communities. At VHS Learning, she collaborates with the Curriculum and Instruction Team in the development of high-quality online teacher training and ongoing professional development around online instruction while supporting over 300 teachers each semester.
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Check out the NSQ Website and  NSQ Professional Learning Portal for more resources.

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