Feedback & monitoring pupil progress

Providing feedback to pupils through verbal and written feedback is integral to effective teaching. Equally, gathering feedback on how well pupils have learned something, is important in enabling teachers to clear up any misunderstanding and provide the right level of challenge in future lessons.

This page presents evidence on feedback from the Teaching and Learning Toolkit alongside the results from recent relevant EEF projects. 

Evidence Summary

Research reviewed in the Teaching and Learning 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, verbal feedback and peer feedback.

However, while the average impact on learning is relatively high, feedback interventions also have a very wide range of effects and some studies show that in some cases feedback can have negative effects and make things worse. It is therefore important to understand the potential benefits and the possible limitations of the approach. In general, research-based approaches that explicitly aim to provide feedback to learners, such as Bloom’s ‘mastery learning’, tend to have a positive impact.

EEF have funded two pilot projects on feedback interventions. Powerful Learning Conversations (PLC) sought to improve the feedback that teachers give to pupils in Year 9, by training them to apply techniques used in sports coaching. Anglican Schools Partnership Effective Feedback project supported teachers to incorporate feedback into their lessons.

In both cases the pilot study suggested that a more structured and consistent model for giving feedback might improve the intervention.

As a result of these studies, we have funded the Embedding Formative Assessment programme to test the impact of a pack of professional development resources designed to enable the implementation of feedback techniques. This is due to report in 2018.  

Using Self-Regulation to Improve Writing

Calderdale Excellence Partnership

A programme which aims to improve pupils’ writing by promoting self-regulation.

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The EEF report ‘A Marked Improvement?’ assesses the quality of evidence on the impact of written marking . It concludes that the evidence is limited, but some findings emerge that could aid school leaders and teachers aiming to create an effective, sustainable and time-efficient marking policy:

  • Careless mistakes should be marked differently to errors resulting from misunderstanding. The latter may be best addressed by providing hints or questions which lead pupils to underlying principles; the former by simply marking the mistake as incorrect, without giving the right answer.
  • Awarding grades for every piece of work may reduce the impact of marking, particularly if pupils become preoccupied with grades at the expense of a consideration of teachers’ formative comments.
  • The use of targets to make marking as specific and actionable as possible is likely to increase pupil progress.
  • Pupils are unlikely to benefit from marking unless some time is set aside to enable pupils to consider and respond to marking.
  • Some forms of marking, including acknowledgement marking, are unlikely to enhance pupil progress. A mantra might be that schools should mark less in terms of the number of pieces of work marked, but mark better.

The full report can be found below. 

  1. Updated: 28th April, 2016

    Marking Review

    5 MB pdf - EEF_Marking_Review_April_2016.pdf

    A Marked Improvement examines the evidence on written marking provides.