Colorful Feedback

To give students feedback on homework and quizzes, I am using a color coded system.  The colors are: green=understanding of the standard, yellow=partial or developing understanding, and red=minimal understanding.

The way I translate this to points is I look at how much of each color is present for each standard.  If a student has most, if not all, green they receive a 10.  Green with a little yellow gets a 9 or 8.  Mostly yellow with some red is a 7.  Mostly red with a little yellow is a 6.  Finally, all red would be a 5.

Demonstrates thorough understanding of the standard
Demonstrates understanding of the standard
Demonstrates a developing understanding of the standard
Demonstrates a partial understanding of the standard
Demonstrates minimal understanding of the standard

I've even gotten to the point that my students grade their own homework using the colors!  I have this poster hanging in my room to remind them:

Here is how a quiz might look using the color system.  Notice, there are no "point values" for each problem.  Each question is simply marked with a color indicating the level of understanding.  Students don't even ask me "what did I get on this quiz" anymore.  They understand that each quiz might have multiple standards on it and each one is assessed individually.


  1. I like this. This would be good with one of those clicker pens that has multiple colors on it.

    1. I actually open three markers and hold them all at once... then I mark the papers "ninja style!" :)

  2. What type of mistakes count for yellow versus red?

    1. Hi Dee,
      I kind of depends on the particular standard/problem. But generally speaking, yellow is how I show that the student has some understanding (partial understanding) but has a misconception or mistake in their thinking.

  3. I like this very much! I can see that students could start using the 3-marker system showing their own understanding of their learning. Thanks for the tip!


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