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Thinking about the research

In the last step we considered the oral interactions that students most value for their learning. The results from the research were:

Discrepancy comment 39%
Open questions 19%
Success criteria comment 17%
Promotion of pupil-directed learning 15%
Nothing 11%

Note due to percentages being rounded to 2 sig figs numbers do not add up to 100%.

The findings of this study replicate findings observed in different lessons, and phases of education around the world. The research indicates that the foci of oral interactions students most value and which help them learn, are those associated with the principles of feedback we have already explored:

  • The oral interactions that discuss success criteria help students know ‘Where am I going?’
  • The oral interactions that discuss discrepancy information help students know ’Where to next?’
  • The oral interactions that are open questions, challenge students and make them think.

These three types of oral interactions can be seen as oral feedback that we can use when undertaking discussions with students in lessons whilst they are learning with us. We can use these either when talking to the whole-class, small groups or with individual students.

Interestingly the students in this study did not say that discussions about progress had helped their learning i.e. How am I doing? This may have been for a variety of different reasons, and this could be different for your students.


Do your students value progress as well as discrepancy information?

  • What might you want to focus on developing next in terms of the oral interactions you undertake with your students?

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This article is from the free online course:

Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre