Lauren Marshall

Primary Teacher

Mossend Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When Wait Time is Used in the Classroom?


The amount of time that a teacher gives a pupil to answer has always been a hot topic within the education sector. Research shows that on average teachers only give 1 second or less for a pupil to answer and then moves on (Department of Education and Communities, 2015).. With Ingram & Elliot (2014) state that with enough wait time there will be an improvement on the student learning and student responses. Rowe (Ingram & Elliot, 2014) adds to this and states that the length of student responses also increases if they are given more time. With many researchers believing that more time for each pupil provides more positive outcomes, this enquiry will help to investigate giving pupils the correct amount of time within their learning in order to ensure that all pupils leave feeling motivated and determined to succeed, which is a requirement from North Lanarkshire’s strategy of ‘raising achievement for all’ (Scot Gov, 2014).


This was a small-scale enquiry within a class of thirty pupils, where the enquiry aimed to identify the impact that various wait times have on the pupils. The enquiry investigated this by adapting the amount of time that the teacher waited for an answer, after asking a question. On week 1, the wait time was 2 seconds compared to week 2 where the wait time was 5 seconds, week 3 where the wait time was 7 seconds and week 4 the wait time was 10 seconds. It is worth noting that this enquiry will not mention the response rate and observations from every single pupil but will discuss the impact that wait time has had on the class as a whole.

Download Practitioner Enquiry