Angela McGuire

Primary Teacher

Ladywell Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens to attainment when instant individual feedback is provided in the classroom?


Increasing the educational attainment of children is a national priority. I chose this enquiry to research how immediate feedback can improve the attainment levels of children.
Feedback is essential in assessment and helps pupils make improvements before they progress (Young, 2005). Black and William (1998) demonstrate that pupils who receive good quality feedback are empowered to have more responsibility in their learning and learn more effectively. Teachers use several strategies; many begin from observing learners undertaking tasks and the way they answer questions (Gov. Scot. 2018 – ‘Principles of Assessment: Learner Engagement’). During this enquiry I engaged the children in discussions about their learning, and to support this, used questioning throughout. This was in the main part of lessons or the plenary and identified any problems, which enabled me to respond to learner needs immediately.

Hargreaves, Gipps & Pickering (2014) suggest that, in questioning, increasing the wait time allows children to concentrate more and promotes higher-order thinking skills. It also increases the confidence of pupils who take longer to answer. This method allowed me to alter my questioning and understand the importance of differentiating questions. I was able to gauge understanding and increase pupil participation. Some children however, were keener for involvement than others. To prevent this, I used a ‘no hands up’ approach where children are directly asked questions, rather than volunteering answers. Lollipop sticks were also used to assist with the selection of pupils for this type of questioning. The pupils’ names were written on a stick, which ensures that the choices are random; this strategy allowed me to differentiate questions. Kirkton, Hallam, Peffers, Roberston & Stobart (2007) in evaluating research, explain that wait time for pupils who respond quickly can be boring. This emphasises the importance of asking open-ended questions to extend imaginations and provoke thought (Harris and Williams, 2012).


The aim of this enquiry was to find out if attainment improves when instant individual feedback is provided with a main focus on maths lessons.

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