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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Welcome to the course. It is now over two decades since Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam published “Inside the Black Box” and introduced a generation of educators to the term “Assessment for Learning”, and the ideas and concepts it encompasses. Their research highlighted the interdependent nature of interactions that can occur between teachers and students to support learning. Such interactions involve feedback, along with assessment, as important drivers of what, when and how students learn. With ‘good’ feedback helping students understand their subject area, whilst also providing clear guidance on how to improve their learning. However, the story on feedback and how it affects learning, is not as simple as stating that just because feedback has occurred, learning will subsequently take place.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds Improvements in learning are dependent on feedback being ‘used effectively’, with students ready to act on feedback if it is to enhance their learning. The aim of this course is to support you in deepening your understanding of feedback and provide you with practical approaches you can use to enhance learning for all. Throughout we encourage you to reflect on your current practice, identify opportunities to develop, and share your thinking with other teachers on the course. We look forward to your contributions.

What is feedback for learning?

Welcome to Feedback for Learning, from the National STEM Learning Centre.

Feedback is often cited as having a large impact on students’ learning, however, even John Hattie, whose decades of research identified that feedback was amongst the most powerful influences on achievement, confesses that he has “struggled to understand the concept” (2008, p. 173). We start this course by looking at definitions and dimensions of feedback, before establishing an effective classroom culture that enables learning.

Assessment, Feedback, Improvement in a cycle with Learning at the centre

Professional development for teachers

Experienced teacher, former head of science and educational consultant Dr Andrea Mapplebeck will guide you through approaches that exemplify effective feedback, which will support you and your students in moving forward their understanding. You’ll hear contributions from leading experts Chris Harrison and Dylan Wiliam, from Q&A recordings of our supporting courses, and watch footage from real classroom teachers in action.

The course is based on research, and the wider literature about effective feedback (references [PDF]). We start here with an introduction from Andrea on the background to feedback and a self-audit task to help you set your development goal for the course.

To get the most out of this course, you’ll collaborate with other teachers, both in your workplace and with others online, to take the ideas from this course into practice. Download our Quick Guide to Effective Online CPD.

Course support

All courses from the National STEM Learning Centre are supported by expert educators and experienced mentors. We’ll be supporting your professional development between 6 July – 7 August 2020 in the discussions throughout the course. There is also a question and answer opportunity with Andrea. Post your questions before 22 July to step 3.12.


This self-audit task is for teachers and educators, to help you review your current practice and thinking on assessment for learning. Setting a development goal and being able to assess your own development is a crucial part of professional practice, so we will be revisiting your responses to the self-audit later.

When completing the self-audit, there are no right or wrong answers. Answer honestly about where you are now, not where you want to be. Your answers will help you to identify what areas of practice you need to focus on the most as you progress through the course.

Self-audit task

  1. Access the self-audit task and complete it.
  2. At the end of the survey, click My responses.
  3. Click Download as PDF.
  4. Save the PDF where you will be able to retrieve it to review at the end of the course.
  5. Share your professional development goal in the comments at the bottom of this step.

You may find other teachers have similar goals, and you can discuss the ideas in the course with them over the next few weeks.

Tip: When you complete a step on the course, click Mark as Complete at the bottom right. This helps you keep track of your progress. Mark over 90% of the course steps complete and you’ll be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement when you Upgrade.

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This video is from the free online course:

Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre