Teacher Feedback as an Academic Conversation: An Examination of How Faculty Influence Student Motivation to Revise and Improve in College



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Past research has suggested that specific and buffered feedback are motivating to students, but the combination of these types of feedback has not been examined with respect to different student populations. In this study responses to teacher feedback were considered in relation to race-ethnicity, parent education, class year, and the personality characteristic of ambiguity tolerance within a sample of 174 female college students. The experimental study found that participants in the combined buffered and specific feedback condition rated their motivation or intention to improve higher than students in the vague feedback condition. Racial-ethnic minority students found buffered feedback more motivating than White students. White first-generation students were more confident about their abilities to improve than White continuing-generation students in achieving high marks for future assignments. Finally, ambiguity tolerance had a negative effect on motivation and intention to revise. Qualitative analyses of lived experiences emphasized that specific feedback is preferred from teachers. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.



academic feedback, feedback seeking, ambiguity tolerance, stereotype threat