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ERIC Number: ED545560
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7619-4
Data Coaching: Measuring the Effects of Feedback on Low-Stakes Test Motivation
Snyder, Nancy
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
This study examines the relationships between students' academic motivation, evidence of achievement as measured by assessments and the effects of feedback in mediating effort. Policy makers currently view student achievement is as synonymous with proficiency on standardized tests. Testing students as a means of determining educational productivity is a standard educational practice that has become more significant since the establishment of NCLB. Increasingly, assessments have become accountability measures for schools, a trend that will become even more personal to teachers in Pennsylvania as the state embarks on a new teacher evaluation tool, which uses student achievement data as a "significant factor" in performance ratings. While these assessments then become high-stakes for schools, such measures may carry little meaning for the students themselves. Research has indicated that learning motivation and ability beliefs decline as students reach middle school. Studies have also shown that student test effort impacts achievement scores. Valid interpretation of test scores is dependent on students' giving full effort. According to expectancy-value theory, examinee effort is a construct of value and expectancies. This mixed-method, quasi-experimental study tested the effectiveness of a feedback protocol centered on coaching conversations with 36 urban middle school students. The intervention sought to increase task importance and therefore student effort. In a pretest-posttest design using the Student Opinion Scale, students rated their examinee effort and the importance they ascribed to a low-stakes test. Results indicated that this feedback had little impact on student reported importance or effort. Comparison with a control group, subject effort showed greater decrease. Analysis of field notes indicated that confounding variables may have influenced these results. Students who reported positive test effort gave several reasons. In addition to ability beliefs that increased their expectancy for success, students named parents and peers as influencing their perceptions of test importance. Most often, however, students attributed positive test effort to their teacher. Cost of time and energy was most often cited as a reason for failing to give full effort, but negative effort was also attributed to teachers. Here students described adversarial relationships and ineffective classroom practices as negatively affecting effort in class and during tests. Confirming studies of classroom goal structure, students reported that classrooms that focused on performance, rather than mastery goals, negatively influenced their academic achievement and ensuing test effort. The findings of this study are instructive to school personnel who wish to maximize student effort in testing situations. Using the Student Opinion Scale to assess student effort and importance on tests would enhance instructional practices as well as assist in valid interpretation of test scores, particularly in non-consequential test situations. As students most frequently cited cost as the reason for their failure to give full effort, schools should carefully consider what assessments are necessary to give and ensure that curricula are aligned to assessment material. Because much about current testing practices is mandated, schools should carefully consider the frequency and use of non-mandated tests, particularly those that are low-stakes. Finally, qualitative data endorses the use of mastery goals in promoting full student effort through classroom instruction that minimizes energy costs and improves ability beliefs, task value, and expectancies for success. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania