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Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


When teachers use good verbal feedback strategies, it saves them time and boosts pupils’ engagement

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 October 2019

Mark Quinn.

For some time now, teachers have been wondering whether there are better, less labour-intensive, ways of giving feedback to their students. Surely marking stacks of books every night cannot be the only way? We now have some evidence that verbal feedback is at least as effective as the written variety. And it might just help give teachers their lives back too.

Every workload survey of teachers in England reveals that they believe they are spending far too many hours on tasks they feel have little value for their students. In July 2019, Ofsted said that their own findings ‘show that teachers spend less than a half of their time on teaching, while lesson planning, marking and administrative tasks take up a large part of their non-teaching time’. Teachers told the DfE’s Workload Challenge survey that the amount of marking they had to do, and the ways they had to do it, was the key factor in driving up their workload.

The Education Endowment Foundation’s 2016 report, A Marked Improvement?, found few robust studies into the effectiveness of written marking, even though it takes up so much of a teacher’s time. Consequently, in their myth-busting document, Ofsted have reiterated that they do ‘not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.’