“I really need feedback to learn:” students’ perspectives on the effectiveness of the differential feedback messages

  • Anastasiya A. LipnevichEmail author
  • Jeffrey K. Smith


The current study examined students’ perceptions of the effects of different forms of instructional feedback on their performance, motivation, and emotion. Forty-nine students attending an eastern US university participated in focus group discussions. The groups explored students’ reactions to grades, praise, and computer versus instructor provided feedback, as well as students’ views of the ideal feedback. Students named detailed comments as the most important and useful form of feedback. Grades were deemed to be unnecessary if the goal of an activity was to learn. Students proposed that low grades elicit negative affect and damage the students’ sense of self-efficacy, and high grades decrease motivation and lessen students’ perceived need to improve. Praise was reported to positively affect emotion, but not to be directly conducive to learning.


Formative assessment Feedback Grades Praise Source of information Focus groups 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Testing ServicePrincetonUSA
  2. 2.University of Otago—EARUDunedinNew Zealand

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