Lipnevich, A. A., & Smith, J. K. (2009). Effects of differential feedback on students’ examination performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14, 319-333.
The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of different types of feedback on student exam performance. Lipnevich and Smith conducted an experiment using 464 undergraduate college students taking a single question essay test. The researchers included 3 experimental conditions: no feedback, detailed feedback from a professor, and detailed feedback generated by a computer. Additionally, each of these conditions was crossed with receiving a grade or not and receiving praise or not. The researchers tested the effectiveness of each type of feedback combination by examining student improvement in essay scores. They found that overall, written, descriptive feedback specific to individual work was most effective in helping students improve essay scores when given without a grade or praise, yet the perceived source of the feedback (i.e., professor or computer) did not impact results. Additionally, the researchers found that all students showed significant improvement after receiving detailed feedback, regardless of their original performance level (i.e., low-, medium-, or high-scoring). The authors conclude that these findings are consistent with other studies showing how descriptive feedback, which provides detailed information about performance and ways to improve, is more helpful than grades or evaluative feedback simply telling students how they did.
Balanced Assessment System, Formative Assessment