About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Who was behind this experiment?

What was the experiment?

This experiment aimed to find out whether it was possible to uncover the type of feedback from teachers that leads to the greatest improvement in student performance in maths tests by analysing 14,649 pieces of feedback generated by teachers on Eedi, an online assessment platform. It also tested whether behavioural prompts could encourage teachers to adopt this way of giving feedback.

What did they find?

The team was able to extract a small number of pieces of feedback that had been particularly effective on specific maths questions. There was no statistically significant difference in the amount of feedback teachers left when they received a behavioural prompt email compared to the control group. However, as the feedback feature on the Eedi website had much lower usage than anticipated, the team collected insufficient data to draw meaningful conclusions.

Why is it relevant?

There is little evidence on what the most effective feedback is, yet it takes a lot of teachers’ time and is important for student learning. Online education platforms hold large amounts of data from both students and teachers. Such online tools help teachers to assess their pupils’ homework easily, but don’t yet allow them to tap into the collective wisdom of their colleagues to increase student performance. This experiment showed that this is possible and could potentially reduce teachers’ workload significantly..

Follow their work on Twitter: @B_I_Tweets and @helloeedi