Alice McCullogh

Primary Teacher

Muirhouse Primary

  • Digital Learning: Formative Assessment

Does the type of feedback given have an impact on a child’s learning?


“High quality interactions between learners and staff lie at the heart of assessment as part of learning,” (Scottish Executive, 2008). Pupils develop their understanding further when they are actively engaged in and understand feedback given. Providing teacher feedback on pupils’ tasks is important and beneficial to learning, with a range of studies proving it can have a positive impact upon learning, engagement and attainment (Hattie, 2012). How students interpret feedback and if they use feedback, is critical for learning to progress (Poulos & Mahony, 2008). This enquiry was developed by a mixture of upper and lower primary school probationary teachers who all have experienced the positive impact that feedback can have on a pupil’s learning. As an enquiry team, we were all keen to ascertain if using one form of feedback (either verbal or written) could have a greater impact on pupil learning than another.  

The purpose of feedback is to make the children feel confident and connected to their learning and to develop learning accordingly. Watanabe-Crockett (2018) highlights the importance of verbal feedback as it provides learners with an opportunity to learn from mistakes but will also help a learner feel a sense of accomplishment no matter how much they struggle. However, Chong (2017) argues that written feedback is one of the most effective formative assessment tools to improve students’ learning as it allows students to be active agents in their learning. Written feedback gives pupils the opportunity to exercise greater autonomy with their own progression and achievement.  

Any form of feedback is fundamental in raising pupil confidence, and in turn impact their learning. It provides a platform for reflection and conversation between pupils and teachers, to allow pupils to progress.  It is suggested that educators should concentrate on providing pupils with meaningful detailed feedback as by doing so can ensure learning growth as pupils are more inclined to act upon their feedback. (Gedye, 2010). This enquiry aims to explore which form of feedback has the largest impact on pupil learning.  


The aim of this enquiry was to;  

  • Identify which form of feedback had the greatest impact on learning;
  • Formulate an understanding of which feedback method pupils preferred. 
Download Practitioner Enquiry