Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Dr. Uldis Smidchens
Dr. Patrick Jenlink
Dr. Ronald Crowell
Promoting and maintaining motivation in elementary students is an ongoing problem. This study hypothesized that (a) feedback has a greater motivational effect on persistence and on accuracy for second graders than does no feedback, and (b) knowledge of results feedback has a greater motivational effect than does pleasant feeling tone feedback. Evidence from the study showed mixed support for the hypotheses.
The study compared two forms of feedback and the absence of feedback. One group received praise in the form of general, positive statements—classified as feeling tone—about their work while completing mathematics computational portions of the second grade 1989 Stanford Achievement Test (Stanford Achievement Test. 1989) and the fourth grade 1985 California Achievement Test (Harris, 1986). A second group received specific statements—classified as knowledge of results—about their work. A third group received no feedback at all.
There was no evidence that providing feedback provided more motivation to continue with a task than occurred without the feedback. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the provision of knowledge of results statements provided more motivation to continue with a task than occurred with pleasant feeling tone statements.
There was evidence that the provision of feedback produced greater accuracy than occurred without the feedback. However, there was no evidence that the provision of knowledge of results statements produced greater accuracy than occurred with pleasant feeling tone statements.
In this study there is some evidence that young children do produce more accurate results when they receive feedback than they do when they receive no feedback, but the specificity of that feedback is unimportant.
The study aided in understanding the effects of verbal feedback on accuracy and task completion. Elementary educators who use tangible rewards as motivators may enhance task completion and accuracy at the time the reward is provided while reducing students’ intrinsic motivation for the future. To help students become intrinsically motivated, educators must consider the effects of verbal feedback.
Baker, Jesse D., "The Effects of Two Motivational Factors on Accuracy and Persistence for Second Graders" (1993). Dissertations. 1878.