A study published by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) shows that even small amounts of the right kind of feedback to teachers and principals can have an effect on pupil achievement in maths.
A total of 127 schools from eight districts across five US states participated in the study. Schools were assigned to either a treatment or control group. In both the treatment and control group schools, teachers and principals continued to receive the performance feedback they had received in the past. For those in the treatment group schools, additional feedback was also given for classroom practice, pupil achievement and principal leadership. The study focused on principals and teachers of reading/ English and maths in grades 4–8 (Years 5–9).
The findings include:
- In the first year of the study, the pupils in the treatment schools outperformed pupils in control schools in maths by the equivalent of four weeks of learning.
- In the second year, while there was a difference of the same size, it was not statistically significant.
- There was no difference in either year on pupil achievement in reading/ English.
Through exploratory analyses, the study also noted that classroom practice was positively associated with achievement in maths, suggesting that improved classroom practice might be one way of how feedback to teachers influenced student achievement.
Garet, M.S., Wayne, A.J., Brown, S., Rickles, J., Song, M., and Manzeske, D. (2017). The impact of providing performance feedback to teachers and principals. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.