Does teacher homework feedback matter to 6th graders’ school engagement?: a mixed methods study

  • Jennifer Cunha
  • Pedro RosárioEmail author
  • José Carlos Núñez
  • Guilherme Vallejo
  • Juliana Martins
  • Julia Högemann


The effectiveness of homework on improving student academic achievement depends on several factors; for example, feedback provided by the teacher (i.e. grading) and student engagement are important moderators in this process. However, the relationships between the types of homework feedback commonly used by teachers and student school engagement have not yet been examined. Anchored in the Self-Determination Theory, this mixed methods sequential explanatory study investigated how five types of teacher homework feedback predict three dimensions of students’ school engagement. The participants included 6th graders (N = 4288) and their mathematics teachers (N = 170). For this investigation, a quantitative phase was run, followed by a qualitative phase. The quantitative data were analyzed using multivariate multilevel regression models. The quantitative data showed positive relationships between five types of feedback and school engagement, albeit with different results at student and class levels. The findings showed small effect sizes. The qualitative data, based on a purposeful sampling, provided further insights regarding the low effect sizes that were found. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Four themes were identified as follows: homework at home and/or at the study center, perceived homework feedback types, school engagement, and school disaffection. Both data sets indicated directions to strengthen the benefits of homework feedback and to maximize students’ learning. This research paper discusses practical implications as well as future research directions.


Homework feedback types School engagement School disaffection Mathematics Sequential explanatory design 



Authors would like to thank Sofia Kirkman and Connor Holmes for the English editing of the manuscript.


This study was conducted at Psychology Research Centre (UID/PSI/01662/2013), University of Minho, and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education through national funds and co-financed by FEDER through COMPETE2020 under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007653). The first author was supported by a PhD fellowship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT – SFRH/BD/95341/2013).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied PsychologyUniversidade do MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversidad de OviedoOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y HumanidadesUniversidad Politécnica y Artística de ParaguayMayor Sebastián Bullo s/n, AsunciónParaguay

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