Education Endowment Foundation:Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Improving the teaching and learning of assessment and feedback

Evidence on assessment and feedback from the Teaching and Learning Toolkit alongside the findings from recent EEF projects.

Providing high-quality feedback to pupils is integral to effective teaching. Equally, gathering feedback on how well pupils have learned a topic is important in enabling teachers to address any misunderstanding and provide the right level of challenge in future lessons.

This page is an overview of current evidence on how to use assessment to understand pupils’ strengths, weaknesses and progress, and addressing these through feedback. It draws on:

  • relevant topics from our Teaching and Learning Toolkit;
  • findings from the EEF-funded projects that directly relate to feedback and monitoring pupil progress; and
  • other evidence-based resources we hope will be useful.
Very high impact for very low cost based on extensive evidence
Impact (months)
Read more about Feedback

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.

  • 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.

We have funded two project – FLASH Marking and Digital Feedback in Primary Maths – which aim to reduce the workload of marking and make the feedback to pupils more timely, focused and informative.

EEF published a guidance report on feedback – Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning – in June 2021. It is available to download here.