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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Beng Huat See

See, B.H., Gorard, S. & Siddiqui, N. (2016). Teachers’ use of research evidence in practice: a pilot study of feedback to enhance learning. Educational Research 58(1): 56-72.

Author(s) from Durham


Background: There is worldwide interest in improving the effectiveness of teachers and teaching. This paper considers two strands of that interest. It revisits the impact of using enhanced feedback from teachers to pupils as a way of improving attainment, and it looks at the feasibility of teachers using research evidence to create their own interventions. Current evidence on the causal impact of effective feedback on learning is unclear: many studies have mixed results, are small in scale, lack randomisation or are not conducted in real classroom conditions. Purpose: The aim of this paper is to describe the experience of schools as they engage with research evidence to support their own enquiry into the effectiveness of feedback in the classroom. Research design: This study took place over one academic year, involving nine treatment schools in one local authority. The study involved teachers themselves using research findings to create an intervention, which took, as its focus, enhanced feedback in the classroom. Test results from these schools were compared to the results in 5 participating comparator schools, to the 49 other schools in the borough and to all state-funded primary schools in England. Results: Although teachers showed that they could engage with research evidence, the study indicated that the process was complex in practice. In addition, the independent impact evaluation suggested that enhanced feedback in itself does not necessarily lead to improved pupil test performance. Discussion and conclusions: The paper considers some of the challenges faced by teachers as they attempted to use research evidence, and discusses implications for schools wishing to use research evidence in practice. The findings of the study suggest that it may be feasible for practitioners to use research evidence to inform their own practice. However, to do it well would require clearer guidance, professional development and modelling of any strategies suggested. These findings have implications for policy on teacher development, and for the research community to make research outputs more comprehensible and accessible to research users.