Our Toolkit suggests that the provision of high-quality feedback can lead to an average of eight additional months’ progress over the course of a year. Feedback can take a range of different forms, including written feedback in the form of marking, oral feedback and peer feedback, while a teacher may also choose to vary the frequency, timing, focus and tone.
However, while the average impact on learning is high, feedback interventions also have a very wide range of effects. Indeed, studies show that in some cases feedback can have negative effects on attainment. How effective a particular type of feedback is can be dependent on a number of factors, including the ability of the learner, how motivated the learner is, the type of task being undertaken, and the learning goals set. It is therefore important to very carefully consider how to deliver feedback. It is also crucial that teachers do not regard feedback as a ‘silver bullet’ that will dramatically improve learning on its own. In order for feedback to be effectively delivered, several other components of good teaching and learning are required (such as considered planning, clear goal setting and effective assessment).
The EEF has published seven reports on projects that aim to improve feedback practice. Projects such as Powerful Learning Conversations, the Anglican Schools Partnership for Effective Feedback, Quest and Hampshire Hundreds, were funded as they included promising evidence related to feedback practice. However, they struggled to ensure that their interventions were delivered consistently.
As a result of these studies and the lessons that were learnt about implementation, we funded the Embedding Formative Assessment programme to test the impact of a pack of professional development resources designed to embed the use of formative assessment strategies across a school. In this intervention delivered by SSAT, Schools received detailed resource packs to run monthly workshops, known as Teacher Learning Communities, and teachers conducted structured peer observations focusing on the use of formative assessment strategies. Students in the Embedding Formative Assessment schools made the equivalent of two months’ additional progress, with attainment measured using Attainment 8 GCSE scores.
EEF Funding Priorities
- Approaches that will help teachers to provide specific feedback in a more time-efficient manner (both in terms of the time taken for students to receive feedback and the time taken for teachers to mark work)
- Programmes that provide CPD to teachers to improve their approach to formative feedback
- Approaches that focus on how pupils receive feedback (both in terms of preparing pupils emotionally to receive feedback and capitalising on research from cognitive science to deliver effective feedback).
- Approaches that adapt feedback to suit different learner characteristics, task types and goals.
- Programmes that encourage pupils to act on feedback.