Planning Instruction with Prescriptive Feedback
We used to think that simply praising students for their performance and accomplishments would build their self-confidence and allow them to excel, but recent research has proven this to be a flawed approach. What we now know from research is that students who receive positive prescriptive feedback on their effort and processes are more inclined to try harder, explore challenges, and work toward improving their performance. Both the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice—especially SMP 1 and 3—and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Process Standards have integrated this research-based understanding of what works, emphasizing the importance of perseverance rather than “answer-getting.”
What differentiates prescriptive feedback from the kind of feedback and praise we have traditionally given students? How can we incorporate it in our lessons and practice? How do we help students see mistakes as opportunities for extended learning rather than a cause for embarrassment? The resources in this collection will begin to answer all these questions.
Prescriptive Feedback provides an overview of the effects of both prescriptive feedback and praise on student learning. It stresses the importance of focusing on the effort and process, rather than performance or grades, to encourage students to accept challenges and look beyond right or wrong answers.
In The Nature of Prescriptive Feedback, Parts I and II, Dr. Carol Dweck explains her research around the nature and effect of prescriptive feedback, highlighting the need for students to have a ‘growth mindset.” She details the importance of encouraging students to work through challenges and examine their errors as a way to build confidence and perseverance, and she offers specific examples of praise for effort and process rather than outcomes.
Encouraging Effort through Feedback features Joanne Anderson, a sixth-grade teacher, sharing her classroom focus on process and helping students to be comfortable with mistakes as a means of exploring their understanding of the mathematics.
To learn more about Prescriptive Feedback and the research that supports its use, you can review the IES Practice Guide Encouraging Girls in Math and Science.