Teachers’ Feedback to Pupils: “Like So Many Bottles Thrown Out to Sea”?

  • Eleanore Hargreaves
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 14)


This article draws on existing research about feedback, and also on teachers’ perceptions of feedback, in order to throw light on the roles feedback can play in supporting learning within the classroom. It addresses the “common but puzzling observation that even when teachers provide students with valid and reliable judgements about the quality of their work, improvement does not necessarily follow” (Sadler, 1989). The article draws on a survey of 88 teachers as to how feedback becomes effective. The teachers were invited to complete the sentence, “Feedback becomes effective when…. ”. The article concludes that it is the social and personal aspects of feedback that may constitute the missing piece to Sadler’s (1989) puzzle: pupils are more likely to make constructive meaning out of feedback messages when teachers recognize the influence of social and personal aspects, as well as of the content and form, of feedback.


Learning Objective Personal Factor Successful Learning Feedback Message Effective Feedback 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Many thanks are due to Professors David Scott, Gordon Stobart and Dylan Wiliam for their extremely helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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