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Learning by Questions is built upon an effective pedagogy, which we’ve been improving, refining and observing over a number of independent research studies and developments spanning 10 years.

Our findings validate the power of providing learners with immediate, specific feedback at the point of learning. This is of course in line with John Hattie’s research, and more recently that of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), which found that feedback has more impact on student achievement than any other factor.

By collecting better evidence about what works best, and establishing a culture where this evidence is used as a matter of daily routine, we can improve outcomes for children and increase professional independence.

“That class that had it last year, they’re asking me when they’re going to get it back again.”

Teachers on using self-paced learning with feedback during lessons.

The Research

It’s evident that providing frequent formative feedback can have a substantial impact on learning. Evidence from teachers across a number of studies has been overwhelmingly positive.

A recent independent study conducted by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) looking into the effects of feedback across more than 100 classrooms over a two year period has now concluded. Student progress will be compared with a control group who did not receive instant feedback during lessons. Early findings are very encouraging and the results will be published in 2017.

Another groundbreaking study by the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) from the University of York produced dramatic findings. It looked into the teaching of grammar in 59 primary schools and found that over a school year, students made 3 to 4 months of additional progress when given immediate feedback – the approach provides particular support for middle and lower ability students.

This study followed on from the encouraging 2011 IEE pilot study into self-paced learning with feedback in primary mathematics.

Effective Technology-Supported Formative Assessment (2011)

Mary Sheard and Bette Chambers
Institute for Effective Education at the University of York

self-paced

Researchers at the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York conducted a small-scale randomised evaluation of the self-paced learning strategy (SPL) to determine if this form of technology–supported formative feedback increases pupil learning. Seven primary schools in the North of England were randomly assigned to use SPL in their Year 5 classes alongside Learning Clip, a mathematics programme delivered on the interactive whiteboard, or to use Learning Clip without the self-paced element (control group) for a 12-week trial period during the Spring and Summer terms, 2011.

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IEE Technology Supported Formative Assessment Self-paced Learning
Assessment and Classroom Learning (1998)

Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam
King’s College London School of Education

Paul Black

Paul Black

Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam

This article is a review of the literature on classroom formative assessment. Several studies show firm evidence that innovations designed to strengthen the frequent feedback that students receive about their learning yield substantial learning gains. The perceptions of students and their role in self-assessment are considered alongside analysis of the strategies used by teachers and the formative strategies incorporated in such systematic approaches as mastery learning. There follows a more detailed and theoretical analysis of the nature of feedback, which provides a basis for a discussion of the development of theoretical models for formative assessment and of the prospects for the improvement of practice.
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Assessment & Classroom Learning
Inside The Black Box (1998)

Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam
King’s College London School of Education

Paul Black

Paul Black

Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam

In terms of systems engineering, present policy seems to treat the classroom as a black box. Certain inputs from the outside are fed in or make demands—pupils, teachers, other resources, management rules and requirements, parental anxieties, tests with pressures to score highly, and so on. Some outputs follow, hopefully pupils who are more knowledgeable and competent, better test results, teachers who are more or less satisfied, and more or less exhausted. But what is happening inside? How can anyone be sure that a particular set of new inputs will produce better outputs if we don’t at least study what happens inside?
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Blackbox
Teachers Developing Assessment for Learning (2004)

Dylan Wiliam, Clare Lee, Christine Harrison & Paul Black
King’s College London

Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam

Paul Black

Paul Black

While it is generally acknowledged that increased use of formative assessment (or assessment for learning) leads to higher quality learning, it is often claimed that the pressure in schools to improve the results achieved by students in externally-set tests and examinations precludes its use. This paper reports on the achievement of secondary school students who worked in classrooms where teachers made time to develop formative assessment strategies. A total of 24 teachers (2 science and 2 mathematics teachers, in each of six schools in two LEAs) were supported over a six-month period in exploring and planning their approach to formative assessment, and then, beginning in September 1999, the teachers put these plans into action with selected classes. In order to compute effect sizes, a measure of prior attainment and at least one comparison group was established for each class (typically either an equivalent class taught in the previous year by the same teacher, or a parallel class taught by another teacher). The mean effect size was 0.32.
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Teachers Developing Assessment for Learning: Impact on Student Achievement
Effects of Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment on Achievement in Primary Grammar (2012)

Mary Sheard, Bette Chambers and Louise Elliott

Institute for Effective Education at the University of York

Grammar Research

Questions for Learning (QfL) is a technology-enhanced formative assessment technique in which pupils use electronic handsets to work through questions at their own pace in a classroom setting. The handsets provide immediate formative feedback to pupils and teachers, allowing teachers to quickly identify and resolve any learning problems or gaps. A previous study of QfL found strong positive effects on maths achievement in English primary schools. The present study reports findings of a 12-week study in which 42 primary schools in the north of England and Wales were randomly assigned to use QfL in the teaching of grammar in Year 5 classes, or to continue with ordinary grammar teaching. An additional 16 schools participated as a supplementary comparison group, in which the teachers had previous experience of using electronic handsets.

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IEE QfL Grammar Report
Hattie & His High Impact Strategies for Teachers (2011)

John Hattie

John Hattie

John Hattie

John Hattie synthesised over 500,000+ studies related to student achievement in his book Visible Learning. He showed that teachers can make a difference despite other circumstances that may impede learning. In fact, Hattie found that most teachers have some degree of impact on their students’ learning. However, some teachers have far more impact than others.

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Hattie & His High Impact Strategies for Learning
Marzano Research - Executive Summary (2012)

A Randomised Controlled Trial of the Effects of Promethean ActivExpression on Student Achievement – Executive Summary

Mark W. Haystead & Robert J. Marzano

Robert J. Marzano

Robert J. Marzano

Mark W. Haystead

Mark W. Haystead

During the 2008/2009 school year Marzano Research was commissioned by Promethean Ltd. to conduct evaluation studies of the effects of Promethean ActivClassroom tools and technologies on student academic achievement. Further during the 2009/2010 school year, Marzano Research was also commissioned by Promethean Ltd. to conduct a study on the unique effects of the Promethean ActivExpression Learner Response System on student achievement.
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A randomised controlled trial of the effects of Promethean ActivClassroom - Executive Summary version
Marzano Research - Final Report (2012)

A Randomised Controlled Trial of the Effects of Promethean ActivExpression on Student Achievement – Final Report Mark W. Haystead & Robert j. Marzano

Robert J. Marzano

Robert J. Marzano

Mark W. Haystead

Mark W. Haystead

During the 2008/2009 school year Marzano Research was commissioned by Promethean Ltd. to conduct evaluation studies of the effects of Promethean ActivClassroom tools and technologies on student academic achievement. Further during the 2009/2010 school year, Marzano Research was also commissioned by Promethean Ltd. to conduct a study on the unique effects of the Promethean ActivExpression Learner Response System on student achievement.
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A randomised controlled trial of the effects of Promethean ActivClassroom - Final version

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