SE2R Narrative Feedback Revolutionizes Assessment

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SE2R feedback


One of the keys to a successful results-only classroom is the use of narrative feedback over grades. Although SE2R feedback isn’t necessarily difficult to provide, this systematic approach can simplify the assessment process.

The system I’ve created in order to build a conversation about learning is called the SE2R Feedback approach:

  • Summarize
  • Explain
  • Redirect
  • Resubmit

When a student submits an activity, I respond with basic summary information about what was accomplished. Following is an example of SE2R feedback for a brief writing activity.


“You wrote a brief reflection on The Hunger Games, in which you mix plot details and your own personal connection.”


“The summary information demonstrates comprehension of plot elements including characterization and conflict — elements of fiction we recently learned. I think, however, that you misidentify the rising action. I like how you show empathy for Katniss and her plight, as she faces the prospect of killing Peeta (hint: what story element is this?). Elaborating on this part will improve your response.”

Redirect and Resubmit

“Please review the presentation on rising action on our classroom web site. Then, revise your reflection, reworking the part on rising action, in order to demonstrate understanding of the concept. Then, elaborate on your feelings about Katniss’s tough decision near the end of the story. When you have finished, e-mail me or send me a message on our private message board, telling me that you’ve done so.”

What makes the SE2R feedback approach integral to mastery learning is that it removes the kind of subjectivity present in grades and rubrics, while providing students with clear information about what they’ve accomplished and what they still need to do.

Most important, SE2R feedback allows students to revisit activities and projects, so they can make corrections and resubmit for re-assessment. This is what teaching and learning should look like, as it creates an ongoing conversation about learning, minus the punitive nature of traditional grades.

Are you using anything like SE2R feedback? What advantages and problems do you see in this system of feedback?

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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