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Title: Using teacher-feedback to improve mathematics in UK primary school children
Authors: Wright, B
Sloggett, R
Keywords: Children;Constructive feedback;Mathematics;Praise Comments;Primary School
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: World Institute for Advanced Research & Science
Citation: World Institute for Advanced Research & Science, pp. 200 - 204, 2014
Abstract: Teacher feedback has always been a highly important factor in children's learning. Two components are (a) the way we highlight wrong answers to the child (corrective marking), and (b) the nature of any accompanying written comments. These are perhaps best illustrated when teaching children the subject of mathematics. Concerning corrective marking, in the UK, there has been a steady shift away from the old traditional marking of right versus wrong answers with ticks and crosses, towards the use of dots instead of crosses. This study gave 121 year-4 and year-5 primary school children a short mathematics test and a second test the following week. Crucially, just before the second test, we returned their first test marked either with dots or with crosses for wrong answers, plus with brief written feedback (praise and/or constructive comments). We found boys did slightly better in the maths tests overall. Gender had little effect regarding praise, but boys did better with constructive comments, whereas girls did worse. Across gender, when both praise and constructive comments were teamed with corrective marks, the use of crosses to highlight errors led to more maths improvement. Intriguingly, crosses with no other feedback led to most improvements. When we investigated which motivational factors might predict mathematics improvement, we found that "maladaptive cognitions" was the only such predictor, alongside the child's original mathematics score and number of questions missed on second test. We conclude that cross marking does not hold any advantage for primary school children, if used with only one of praise or constructive comments. Finally, in helping children to improve in mathematics, we should avoid them feeling negative about their mathematics competence, and coach them into not missing out questions in tests.
ISBN: 978-989-97866-7-7
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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