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Feedback > Grades

By Sara Chu

When you were in high school, how did your math teacher grade your work? Did they provide individualized feedback? Or did they grade for completion and simply mark whether an answer was correct or incorrect?

If I had to guess, I bet (at least most of) your math teachers graded for completion. And I completely understand! As a former math teacher who had around 130 students every year, it was impossible for me to provide individualized feedback for every single problem that my students solved. I had to grade for completion. Providing feedback on every problem took valuable time away from lesson planning, lesson prepping, and building relationships with students.

However, grading only for completion does come at a cost to student learning. Students who are not receiving feedback on where or why a certain problem was wrong will not understand how to correct their mathematical misconception or improve their mastery of the concept, possibly causing further setbacks in their learning because math builds on itself. Additionally – and unfortunately – students often lose motivation when they don’t know why they are stunted in their academic growth, especially if they receive a passing completion grade.

In order for student outcomes to improve, effective feedback must be given to students. Grading for completion and marking a problem as right or wrong is not helpful for students.

Students need to see the reason behind their mistake and understand how to prevent that mistake in the future.

If given effective feedback, students will not only understand the material, but will also gain confidence in their academic abilities for the future.

Renota strives to provide students with feedback on their errors and answers to their misconceptions while saving their teacher time from grading. We know that student outcomes will improve once students receive more feedback and learn from their mistakes.

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