For the past decade, the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF) has dedicated itself to improving literacy outcomes in Jordan and throughout the Arab region through the identification and amelioration of gaps in education, and the subsequent development and distribution of research-based pedagogies which target these gaps. As such, QRF is taking a ‘Literacy First’ approach for the improvement of early literacy throughout the region. To this end, QRF has partnered with the UK-based Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the translation and adaptation of a series of educational tools or approaches known as the Teaching and Learning Toolkit (TLT).
The original adapted TLT, which QRF published in 2021, received a significant update in 2023—QRF condensed overlapping tools for a more holistic understanding, while expanding others as warranted. In 2020, QRF published a practice guide for one of the TLT’s high-impact tools: Parental Engagement, which provides school staff, principals, and teachers alike with a guide that includes a litany of pragmatic tools and resources to best involve parents in the education of their children.
Today, QRF has developed a practice guide for Feedback in Arabic, a high-impact tool in the Toolkit. Feedback can have a very high impact—students who receive effective feedback, on average, advance about six months ahead of their peers who do not receive such feedback within the very same year. Similarly, feedback is a low-cost strategy, with reliable evidence backing its efficacy.
However, not all feedback is effective feedback. Feedback may hinder learning and improvement when done badly, such as only appealing to the personal qualities of students, or when it is solely negative, as both positive and negative feedback are necessary to enhance student understanding. Certain foundational principles are needed to ensure that feedback is likely to move learning forward.
One feature of feedback that is likely to move learning forward is that it focuses on the task at hand, the subject, and the student’s own self-regulation of their learning while also planning for how students will receive and use feedback in the future. Appropriately timed feedback must also consider the task, the students, and the class. Additionally, feedback may take a variety of forms, and from a myriad of sources—written or verbal, and from the teacher or the student—allowing teachers to exercise their professional discretion, especially considering the time demands of traditional, written feedback. School leaders have an important role to play in supporting teachers to help ensure that teachers’ feedback is effective.
To build an informed understanding of effective feedback, the Feedback Practice Guide offers six recommendations that guide feedback’s implementation, building on EEF’s recommendations. The first three lay the foundation for effective feedback, and for the subsequent three recommendations. They are as follows:
1. Lay the foundations for effective feedback.
2. Deliver appropriately timed feedback that focuses on moving learning forward.
3. Plan for how pupils will receive and use feedback.
4. Carefully consider how to use purposeful, and time-efficient, written feedback.
5. Carefully consider how to use purposeful verbal feedback.
6. Design a school feedback policy that prioritizes and exemplifies the principles of effective feedback.
At the school level, school staff and principals may best support their teachers through professional development and training, such that teachers might build the necessary curricular foundations for successful feedback. Ultimately, the most important thing to remember about feedback goes beyond the medium or timeline by which it is given—instead, we have to remind ourselves that feedback is a process, and not a one-time action.
Most profoundly, when feedback is done effectively, it may close the learning gap for disadvantaged students. Effective feedback, when done effectively using explicit strategies, reinforces and encourages students to use metacognitive strategies as they learn, which gives disadvantaged students vital tools for managing their own education.
Alongside Feedback, QRF hopes to expand on two more high-impact, low-cost tools in its pedagogical toolbox with guides of their own: Reading Comprehension Strategies and Metacognition and Self-Regulation. Currently, through the Feedback practice guide and its additional aids, QRF provides a thorough and well-informed resource so that teachers, parents, school leaders, and policymakers may work together to continue Jordan and the Arab World’s upward educational trajectory, eliminating educational gaps in literacy and providing equal opportunity education for students throughout the region.