Improving formative homework feedback


This study explores the development of formative homework-feedback within a school setting, and forms the basis for my MA dissertation (see attached for the full report).


First I reviewed the existing literature relating to homework and feedback. Then I carried out an action research project, using pupil and teacher focus groups. In particular, I was interested to investigate the current and changing perceptions of teachers and pupils on homework-feedback, and to explore ways of developing assessment that promotes self-regulation and life-long learning

Research question(s):

  • Can homework feedback be improved?
  • Can dialogic feedback be used to enhance learning?

Research method(s):

This study centres around the use of pupil and teacher focus groups. Please see attached for a full account of how the data were collected and analysed in this study.

Results and discussion:

Through this personalised investigation we looked at the implementation of strategies such as effort and attainment grading, dialogic feedback, focus questions and comment-only marking. Whilst recognising the barriers which prevent more formative assessment of homework feedback taking place, such as time and lack of confidence, this study looks for practical ways to use formative feedback to raise self-awareness and confidence of our pupils.


This was a study of one year group, and 5 teachers, in a single school. As such, any inferences or attempts to generalise these findings should be made with care. That said, the findings of this study – that formative feedback can be of great benefit to student learning – are very much in line with findings in the existing research literature.


  • Boud, D. And Molloy, E. (2012) ‘Rethinking Models Of Feedback For Learning: The Challenge Of Design’, Assessment And Evaluation In Higher Education, P1-P15
  • Butler, D.L. And Winne, P.H. (1995), ‘Feedback And Self-Regulated Learning: A Theoretical Synthesis’, Review Of Educational Research 65, P245-281
  • Faulkner, J. And Blyth, C. (1995) ‘Homework: Is It Really Worth All The Bother?’ Educational Studies, 21:3 P447-P454
  • Glover, C. And Brown, E. (2006) ‘Written Feedback For Students: Too Much, Too Detailed Or Too Incomprehensible To Be Effective?’ BBE-J, 7
  • Hattie And Timperley (2007), ‘The Power Of Feedback’, Review Of Educational Research, 77:1 P81-112
  • Hallam, S. (2006), ‘Homework: Uses And Abuses’, Institute Of Education, London
  • Sharp, C. (2002) ‘Should Schools Set Homework?’, NFER, 27, P1-4, Retrieved From Http://Www.Nfer.Ac.Uk/Nfer/PRE_PDF_Files/02_27_02.Pdf

Featured image: Pixabay

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