EEF publishes new guidance report – ‘Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning’

New guidance on feedback encourages schools to prioritise key principles over methods

Schools should focus on the principles which underpin good feedback rather than the way in which it is delivered, according to a new guidance report published today by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Wider research shows that feedback can be one of the most powerful levers teachers have to improve learning. Today’s report, Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning, reviews the best available evidence to offer recommendations designed to support schools in maximising the benefit of feedback for pupils. It highlights the importance of moving beyond choosing between feedback methods, such as written or verbal, towards a renewed focus on the principles of effective feedback.

These key principles form the first three recommendations of the report and provide the central messages that run throughout the guidance. They state that teachers should:

1. lay the foundations for effective feedback, with high-quality initial teaching that includes careful formative assessment;

2. deliver appropriately timed feedback, which focuses on moving learning forward; and

3. plan for how pupils will receive and use feedback using strategies to ensure that pupils will act on the feedback offered.

The guidance also highlights the importance of a thoughtfully designed and implemented feedback policy. The advice states that a school’s feedback policy should promote and exemplify evidence-informed principles, but that decisions around methods and timing should be left to a teacher’s professional judgement, on the basis that when and how to offer feedback is most appropriately answered by the teacher responding to the particular learning context of an individual pupil.

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info_outline The six recommendations from our new guidance report - 'Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning'

The recommendations in this report have been drawn from a systematic review of the best available international evidence, in addition to a review of current practice in English schools, and consultation with a panel of expert practitioners and academics.

As is explained in the report, much of the research on feedback remains limited, but this guidance offers recommendations on what we can infer from the evidence.

Today’s guidance is part of a series providing evidence-based advice for improving teaching in key areas for schools, including behaviour, literacy and science. The EEF will work with the sector, including through its national Research Schools Network, to build on the recommendations in today’s report with further training, resources and guidance.

Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Done well, feedback can support pupil progress, build learning, address misunderstandings, and thereby close the gap between where a pupil is and where the teacher wants them to be. This process is a crucial component of high-quality teaching, which has never been more important as schools look to recover their pupils’ learning in the wake of the pandemic.

“However, large amounts of time are spent providing pupils with feedback, perhaps not always productively.

“Historically, much consideration has been given to the methods by which feedback is delivered. Our report aims to move beyond this and focus on what really matters: the principles of good feedback. These focus on laying strong foundations for feedback, ensuring that it serves to move learning forward, and that teachers plan ahead how it will be received and used by their pupils.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust, as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus, with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.
  2. For more information contact Charlotte Bedford, EEF Communications and Media Officer, at charlotte.bedford@eefoundation.org.uk.