Evaluation (Grades or Feedback?)

Learn how to distinguish between formative and summative evaluations

Summative Evaluation (grades) is what you get at the end, when the conversation is over and there's not much you can do about it, and to understand this you’ll want to learn about

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI),
  • Evaluation Rubrics, Matrix
  • Disciplinary Standards, expectations
  • Holding ourselves to professional standards

Formative Evaluation — feedback — is the good advice you get along the way that you can put to use to learn from and improve right here and now, including

  • Constructive Criticism, Feedback
  • Conversations
  • Personal goal setting
  • Iterative Development
  • Reflection
  • Learning

Please see my Mega-Evaluation Rubric


You get it first from you!

  • Working consistently and keeping your results in a notebook and portfolio will quickly help you see that you are, in fact, making progress: you see that you are making sense, that your work is changing, and you learn how to like your work — not trivial, but important!
  • So, create a safe, special space for working. Pin your best work and friends and things on the wall. Arrange your favorite books around you, take pride in building a supportive place, and this energy may well pass onto your work!
  • The Voices Within offers a compelling discussion of how our internal conversations enlighten and support
  • The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp, discusses rituals, contexts, and a variety of other supports for creative thinking

Your Friends and Classmates

  • Your friends and classmates can help clarify, check, brain-storm, and support, and when when you do this for them you are on the right track!
  • The Harvard Assessment Seminars found that academic achievement is strongly associated with the ability of students to organise and participate in groups
  • The power of talking sideways to children offers powerful insight into our fundamental needs

Your Instructors

  • Your instructors can be counted on for good advice, especially when you have written something up that reflects thought and attention, but at the HWR we all have terrible teaching loads and so mostly have little time for individual tutoring: best is when you raise hands in class!

Feedback from professionals

  • In any case, you are preparing to join a community of professionals, which is why my classes emphasise the literature review: by entering into a conversation with relevant professionals, you’ll soon learn how to talk the talk and walk the walk!

Feedback from me

  • Not correcting the text, but discussing problems, processes, and alternatives
  • Aiming to be supportive, forward-looking, with advice on what you might do next
  • Being historical, making transparent where my ideas come from (all of them borrowed from others)
  • Encouraging curiosity, creativity (innovation)
  • Returning you to yourself, your classmates, and to relevant professionals
  • To the end of developing your autonomy


Reflective Practice

  • Naming: Action + reflection, not simply “knowledge transfer”
  • Concept: Argyris and Schön, from single- to double-loop learning. “Reflection-in-action” and “reflection-on-action”; doubt, reframing situations as “problems”
  • Debriefing, Gibbs. Description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusions, action plan (see also Johns)
  • Challenging assumptions, Brookfield. Learning autobiography (we are not alone, reflection and emotion), learner eyes (others see us differently), colleague experiences (and conversations, discovery and support), theoretical literature (“naming” our experience, illuminating generalities).
  • How to be reflective, Somerville & Keeling. Soliciting feedback, asking ‘what have I learnt?”, identify strengths and weaknesses, viewing experiences objectively, developing empathy, journal keeping, action plans