Indirect feedback in MFL – does it work? Does it improve learning?

Within our own excellent modern foreign languages department a research project has been completed. The question – do students benefit from indirect feedback? Was it useful? Is it a good use of our time? Is it a good use of the students’ time?

Despite some quite frankly fantastic exam results the department wanted better. So a strategy was put into place. Mistakes were highlighted but not corrected. Written feedback was qualitative not quantitative. A research plan was also put into action.


Most significant change – pupils really liked to know what they had done well. They also wanted qualitative feedback more so than the quantitative.

Pupils reported that when they had their mistakes highlighted but not corrected they would take more notice of marking completed. Some went as far as to say they spent more time on their work and ┬áso felt more confident in their exams. One comment from a pupil was that they were thinking more for themselves – something any teacher should take great delight in.

The time taken over feedback was found to have increased massively after the intervention. BUT despite this, pupils still were not taking longer than 10 minutes in their responses. This then raises the question; should we be spending huge amounts of time over the marking?

The recommendations from this study are – highlighting the errors and letting pupils work out their own mistakes did improve work.