EdTech Assessment – Closing the feedback loop

‘A Q&A with Pádraic Hogan the co-founder of Nurture- Who Simplify Formative Assessment & Feedback’

EdTech Assessment - Closing the feedback loop

What was your inspiration for developing Nurture?

Bringing it back (way back) to the early days, in 2017 myself and my co-founder David Neville started jumpAgrade; an online tuition platform helping Irish State Exam Year students get the extra help that they needed in tricky subjects. We knew 98% of students benefited from personalised instruction but with an average of 25 students to every teacher in the Irish classroom, offering that personalisation is close to impossible without burning teachers out.

The idea for jumpAgrade, and the motivation to create the service, stemmed from the identification that face to face personalised instruction was both time intensive and expensive- just look at the Irish grinds culture! jumpAgrade grew quickly, soon serving thousands of students in Ireland with cost effective extra tuition. What made this a success story? The delivery of efficient and effective online formative feedback.

Over time, and by helping thousands of students, we became experts in feedback delivery with this B2C service; equipped with the pedagogical feedback framework we co-created with EdTech research partners, we decided to build software that would allow all teachers to utilise the techniques we had designed, refined and validated.

Nurture was launched in 2021 as a formative assessment and feedback solution that would do something key for learners’ journeys- Close the Feedback Loop.

What’s been really exciting for us has been the interest we’ve seen from different strata in the education sector. Educators from primary schools to further education providers to professional learning courses see how closing the feedback loop can improve learning outcomes, confidence and certitude for all students. 

1. Learner_Passport

How does your EdTech Assessment tool help close the feedback loop?

Nurture guides teachers through the process of providing effective formative feedback that moves learning forward – all while reducing the overall amount of time teachers spend on feedback.

How Nurture adds value to the feedback process:

1. The ‘Nurture Way’ requires teachers to set out learning objectives when creating an assignment; these are the areas a student will then receive feedback on. They will get three levels of feedback from the teacher linked to each of these objectives: task level, process level and self-regulated feedback. 

2. Nurture Feedback Templates in Microsoft Teams

2. When students are submitting work with Nurture, they must reflect on their confidence levels before and after submission. This new data point for teachers will contribute to what we call the student ‘Learner Passport’- an overview of the student’s grades, confidence and engagement. This will also inform teachers’ responses so that all feedback is formative, and addresses every student’s needs.

3. Student selecting confidence level and submitting

3. Nurture develops self regulation by taking students through a robust process of reflection with every submission. On submission, students are asked to expand on: three things they’ve learned, two things they’ve found interesting and one question they are still left with. Here’s what that looks like:

4. 3-2-1 student reflections in Microsoft Teams

Did you incorporate research when creating Nurture?

Absolutely! Nurture was designed based on the study we conducted with Learnovate, the EdTech research centre in Trinity College Dublin. The 50+ page framework that was developed from this research was used as a reference when designing Nurture. One of the lead researchers from the Learnovate team (Dr. Stephen Comiskey) has since joined Nurture as our Director of Teaching and Learning. He ensures that all features we create are pedagogically sound and backed by the latest research and developments in teaching and learning.

We’ve been nominated by ‘The e-Assessment Association’ for the work done on our framework- ‘Best Formative Assessment Project Award 2022’. 

Do you think your EdTech Assessment tool can reduce teacher workload?

We’ve proved it- once teachers get comfortable with the platform we’ve had teachers reduce the time that they spend giving feedback by up to 50%.

Daire_Irish_Testimonial (1)

This is due to a number of things: by delivering group feedback without a reduction in personalisation, and by developing reflexivity in learners, The Nurture Way leads to more self-directed learners in the classroom.

What platforms is Nurture currently available on?

 Nurture can be found in the Microsoft Teams app store as an integration. Being a Microsoft Education Specialist Partner we work closely with Microsoft to make sure that the product plugs seamlessly into the Microsoft learning environment that teachers and students are used to. In saying that, Nurture can also be used standalone as a web app if your school is not using Microsoft Teams.

Recently Nurture has been added to Classroom Cloud as one of their ‘connectors’.

As Nurture grows, we welcome your readers to join us on the journey to creating the best assessment and feedback solution for teachers, especially as more formative assessment becomes the norm in schools. 

If you would like to have a 1-1 demo of Nurture you can book in below:

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