The use of formative assessment is a topic which has been discussed in great detail in previous years, with a particular focus on improving the way pupils work as a resource for the learning of both them and their peers. Researchers have looked into the use in peer feedback with great detail and proven that feedback by pupils can be effective, dependent upon the quality of the feedback and the way in which it is then used.
The aim of this enquiry was to investigate whether pupils can give effective feedback and examine if the use of formal success criteria can impact the feedback which is given. This work was carried out through the use of start/end questionnaires, as well as the use of pupil workbooks where they could record their feedback and targets. The research for this investigation was carried out over a 4-week time period with pupils being asked how confident they felt giving peer feedback during the first and final lessons. For the first few recorded sessions pupils were asked to give both feedback and targets to their peer with no input from the class teacher. As the enquiry progressed this dynamic was altered so that pupils were asked to provide targets and feedback for their peers, with input from the class teacher in the form of criteria and formal success criteria. All of this information was gathered within the pupil’s personal feedback workbook which was later analysed by the class teacher, along with jotter work and professional teaching observations.
The main conclusions which can be drawn from this enquiry show that pupils respond well to peer feedback and in turn are more likely to focus on the target which has been set for them. There was a significant improvement in the feedback issued by pupils when the use of success criteria was made clear by the class teacher. Without the presence of these success criteria, the feedback failed to meet desired levels and often fell under the category of compliments and short comments. It can also be seen, through the start/end questionnaire, that pupils are more confident giving peer feedback when the influence and guidance of success criteria are present.