Comment Codes

From Shannon Andrews(@andrewsshannon2) “I remember reading on Fawn Nguyen’s (@fawnpnguyen) website Finding Ways that she grades using a highlighter.  During the Principles to Actions math chat, Frank McGowan (@frankmcgowa) talked about using comment codes.  Instead of writing the same questions and comments on EVERY SINGLE PAPER, Frank attaches a code to each comment or question. I believe he collaborated with his English Department on this.  Then when the assignment is returned, he gives them a reflection sheet which includes the codes.

So here is how I applied the same idea in my class this weekend as I was grading.  Frank, maybe you can offer your insights as well.”

This post is an attempt to provide my beginning use of comment codes. Any ideas are appreciated! Comment Codes are something that I’ve begun working with this year. My hope behind the trial was:

  1. avoid writing the same comment on many different papers,
  2. reduce time in providing comments to students, and
  3. (most importantly) shift the burden of analyzing work and finding errors to students.

Credit for this idea comes from the post on Pragmatic Education titled: What if you marked every book, every lesson? In this post, Joe Kirby (@joe__kirby), describes making with icons or numbers.

As I begin looking over student work, I begin writing comment codes. On a student’s page, the code is placed inside a hexagon (bad move on my part – all assessments have been returned and I’ve no copies. Sorry!). Student work is returned with a reflection sheet that asks them to process their work. I’m still working on the format of this and any ideas are much appreciated.

Types of comments (In general, I tend to pose questions in the attempt to guide students):

  1. Error check – In many cases, students are doing great mathematics/science but need to look back over their work.
  2. Expansion of ideas / connection to evidence: A big theme is communication. Are students explaining their ideas? When available, is evidence being used?
  3. Basic understanding: sometimes a student might need a quick reminder or prompt. Is it notation (i.e. using absolute value symbols)?

Using comment codes to plan future lessons: I think there is a lot of potential in recording these comments linked to assessments/topics. On one hand, it’s easy to note the numbers that are being regularly written down. Hey! That’s a class issue. On the other hand, in a following year, the comment codes can be looked at when planning the unit and asking what were the typical areas of challenge for students.

Below are examples of comment codes used from a math and a science assessment.

 

Comment Codes in Math

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Comment Codes in Science

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