Feeling feedback: students’ emotional responses to educator feedback

Tracii Ryan, Michael Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Assessment feedback allows students to obtain valuable information about how they can improve their future performance and learning strategies. However, research indicates that students are more likely to reject or ignore comments if they evoke negative emotional responses. Despite the importance of this issue, there is a lack of research exploring if certain types of students are more likely to experience negative emotional responses than others. This study builds on extant qualitative studies through a quantitative examination of two previously identified student variables: different citizenship backgrounds (domestic and international) and different grade expectations (higher or lower than expected). The participants were 4514 students from two Australian universities. Analysis of survey data revealed that, regardless of language experience, international students were more likely than domestic students to find feedback comments to be discouraging, upsetting and too critical. Students who received grades lower than they expected on a particular assessment task were more likely than students who received grades higher than they expected to feel sad, shameful and angry as a result of the feedback comments. This paper concludes with several recommendations, including the need to modify assessment feedback practices in order to be sensitive to different student cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-892
Number of pages13
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Assessment feedback
  • grade expectations
  • individual differences
  • international students
  • negative emotion

Cite this