Using real-time knowledge of pupils’ strengths and weaknesses can help teachers to boost Year 11 students’ progress by two extra months, according to new research. Tes in the UK reports. 

This could involve asking all students to show their response to a question at the same time – perhaps by holding up their answers on a mini-whiteboard or slate.

The teacher can decide whether they need to review the material with the whole class, to identify a small number of pupils needing individual help, or ask the pupils to discuss their answers with their peers.

The trial involved 140 English schools, and 25,000 Year 10 and 11 pupils, taking part in a randomised controlled trial of Embedding Formative Assessment, a professional development programme that supports teachers to use regular, informal assessments to identify their individual students’ strengths and weaknesses.

Delivered by the Schools, Students and Teachers network and based on the work of Professor Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy, the trial ran from September 2015 – July 2017.

In the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) trial, schools received detailed resource packs to run highly-structured monthly workshops. All teaching staff were involved, and were split into groups of eight to 14 people.

The EEF says the findings have a very high level of security as it was a large and well-run trial, which means it has confidence in the results.

The teachers who took part were largely positive about the programme. They felt that they improved their teaching by sharing knowledge with their colleagues and experimenting with different strategies.

Sir Kevan Collins
, EEF chief executive, said: “So the results of this trial are hugely encouraging and provide very practical ways for teachers to realise the promise of feedback in the classroom.”

NB. EEF (Education Endowment Fund) mentioned in the report is the main funder of research in schools in the UK providing a fund aimed at trialling approaches which lead to improvement and can be rolled out further.

The full report is available here