Monday, 23 November 2015


The Sutton Trust research sees effective feedback as the single most important part of any organisational improvement toolkit.
"Feedback is information given to the learner and/or the teacher about the learner’s performance relative to the learning goals which then redirects or refocuses either the teachers or the learners actions to achieve the goal. It can be about the learning activity or task itself, about the process of the task or activity, about the student’s management of their own learning or their self-regulation or about them as individuals."

The Sutton Trust research suggests that feedback is best directed at the task and process level and should be:
  • about challenging tasks or goals (rather than easy ones); 
  • given sparingly (i.e. needs to be meaningful); 
  • more important to give feedback about what is right than what is wrong; 
  • important to be as specific as you can and, if possible, compare what they are doing right now with what they have done wrong before; and 
  • it should encourage them, and not threaten their self-esteem. 
This was part of the rationale for the design of the National Strategies 'Assessment for Learning' approach. Interestingly the cost of providing more effective feedback is not high. One study even estimates that the impact of rapid feedback on learning is 124 time more cost effective that reducing class sizes! 

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