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The Influences of Feedback and Praise on the Academic Self-Efficacy and Self-Perception Skills of Primary Elementary Aged Students in the Area of Mathematics Atiya R. Smith University of Baltimore Fall 2007

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Purpose The purpose of this study was to: test, in part, Albert Banduras Social Cognitive Theory, examine the various beliefs about academic efficacy and mathematic self-efficacy, and determine the effects of feedback versus feedback plus praise in an academic setting on childrens perception of their own self- efficacy and achievement skills.

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Theory used for this study

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Albert Banduras Social Cognitive Theory Banduras Social Cognitive Theory defines self-efficacy as an individuals beliefs about their own capabilities to successfully complete various tasks being asked of them. This theory implies that ones self-efficacy greatly influences how much effort they put into a task, the choices that they make, how they feel about themselves, their thought patterns, their emotional, psychological and behavioral reactions before and after the task is completed, and their own beliefs about how long they can persevere when faced with a task that is challenging to them.

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Albert Banduras Beliefs Bandura believed that an individuals self-efficacy skills are one of the best predictors of successful academic achievement. He stated that students with a high sense of self-efficacy are more likely to have a heightened sense of optimism that they can succeed, show greater interest in and attention to working towards solving problems, attempt more challenging tasks, show greater perseverance in the face of adversity, adopt more adaptive cognitive and emotional patterns daily throughout their academic careers, and display a stronger sense of academic performances overall (Bandura, 1997).

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Albert Banduras Beliefs contd… Bandura also stated that students whose sense of academic self-efficacy was raised, actually set higher aspirations for themselves, showed greater strategic flexibility in the search for solutions, achieved higher intellectual performances, and were more accurate in evaluating the quality of their performances than students of equal cognitive ability who were led to believe that they lacked such capabilities. (Bandura, 1997)

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Literature Review

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Mathematic self-efficacy and academic achievement… students who were classified as having low and average mathematical abilities, but had high self-efficacy, worked on unsolvable mathematical problems much longer than students who had low self-efficacy but had average and high mathematical abilities (Schunk, 1991; Cox 1982). students who had high instances of mathematical accomplishments also had a higher level of self-efficacy in mathematics than students with low instances of mathematical accomplishments. (Matsui, Matsui, and Ohnishi, 1990) students self-efficacy levels in mathematics also related significantly to their interest in mathematics, beliefs about a successful outcome in mathematics, and overall performance in mathematics. (Lent, Lopez, and Bieschke, 1993)

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Perception and academic achievement… An individuals self-perception skills, relating to their academic competence, help to determine what they do with the knowledge and skills they that gain in school (Pajares & Valiante, 1999), and have a significant influence over their motivation, choice of activities, effort given on tasks, persistence to complete a task, and task accomplishment. (Schunk & Gunn, 1986).

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Effects of Feedback… Feedback is considered to be significantly important within many theories of learning, performance, and instruction and is a highly effective tool that can significantly increase the academic skill level of students at any educational or developmental level. (Narciss, 2004). students who received feedback showed more motivation, self- efficacy, and skill increase than students who did not receive feedback. (Schunk, 1991) The most effective function of feedback is one-on-one tutoring or assisting in guiding the learner to steer the learning process to a successful outcome (Hoska, 1993).

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Effects of Praise… In classrooms that portrayed a positive encouraging climate, students reported positive emotions related to the academic content being taught, high intrinsic motivation, and significant perceptions of task-specific competencies. (Stipek and colleagues,1998) praise is necessary in enhancing students self-esteem and should include focusing on improvement, effort, using sincere comments, and recognizing students feelings about the task being asked of them. (Hitz and Driscoll,1994) students are more likely to participate in activities and engage in them willingly if the activities are linked to positive affects and results in forms of praise (Schweinle, Meyer, & Turner, 2006).

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Effects of Feedback and Praise together… Studies by Burnett (2001) and Merrett & Tang (1994) both measured elementary school students preferences about teacher praise and feedback. Results from both studies indicated that: over 90% of students preferred to be praised often or sometimes over 80% of students preferred to be praised for their efforts rather than actual academic ability, and Over half of students preferred to receive praise individually and without too much focus being on them while in the presence of other students

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Now, back to the study

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Hypothesis It is hypothesized that students who receive feedback with praise will have higher self-efficacy skills in mathematical ability than the students who only receive feedback.

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Participants Boys (n=15) and girls (n=15) from a predominately middle-class background whose age ranged from 7 years and 2 months to 8 years and 10 months. Ethnic composition of the population sample was: 12 African American (40%), 3 Asian (10%), 5 Caucasian (17%), and 10 Hispanic (33%). Students were drawn from 4 second grade classrooms within a medium-sized public elementary school Teachers were asked to identify students with low-average mathematical abilities (i.e. children who have encountered some difficulties in grasping addition and subtraction operations but were not considered to be low achievers, did not received remedial instruction, and were not receiving services from the schools special education team)

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Procedure Participants were randomly assigned to one of two tutoring groups: 1. a group that was just given feedback (n=15) or, 2. a group that was given feedback with praise (n=15). In each group, pretests were given that assessed students beliefs about their own mathematical abilities and assessed actual mathematical skill before treatments were provided. After students were provided with praise and/or feedback on assignments, students were asked if they would like to complete a short extra credit assignment and could either respond yes or no. Responses were noted. After 10 weeks, posttests were given. that were similar to the pretest. to see if changes had occurred in the students beliefs about their mathematical abilities and if their actual skills had increased.

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Results Results from a one-way ANOVA assessing students self-efficacy scores showed that: Students in the Feedback plus Praise group had higher self-efficacy skills in mathematical ability than students in the Feedback Only group. Students in the Feedback plus Praise group not only scored higher than students in the Feedback Only group on the posttest and chose to complete the extra credit assignment at a higher rate, but they also scored higher than their individual pretest scores.

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One-way ANOVA assessing students self-efficacy scores Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. Between Groups 1241.6331 9.873.004 Within Groups 3521.33328125.762 Total 4762.96729 Table 1 Analysis of Variance (One-Way ANOVA) Note: In order for differences to be significant, the sig. score must fall between.05 and.001

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Means and Standard Deviation of Self- Efficacy Scores Consequence NMean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean Self- EfficacyFeedback ONLY 1521.600010.94662 2.82641 Praise & feedback 1534.466711.475852.96305 Table 2 Means and Standard Deviation Scores of Self-Efficacy Scores Using the 2- Leveled Consequence Independent Variable Table 2 shows that the mean score for the students who were randomly assigned to the Feedback Only group (M=21.60, SD=10.95) was significantly lower than mean score for the students who were randomly assigned to the Feedback with Praise group (M=34.46, SD=11.47).

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There were also differences in regards to students gender…

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Two-way ANOVA conducted on participants self-efficacy scores by treatment condition and gender Results of a two-way ANOVA showed that: the independent variables of Treatments and Gender, together, both have an effect on self-efficacy, the treatment of Feedback Only had a greater effect on boys than it did on girls, and the treatment of Feedback with Praise had a greater effect on girls than it did on boys.

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Conclusions Results strengthen Banduras Social Cognitive Theory and support his belief that students will be more likely to attempt, persevere, and be successful at tasks at which they have a sense of efficacy. Findings support conclusions that: boys prefer praise responses and concrete straightforward responses, while girls prefer encouragement responses and words that are personally empowering (Kelly, 2002), females have higher levels of math anxiety and that overall differences in math performance was in fact due to a difference in math self-efficacy (Pajares & Miller, 1994), an effective function of feedback is one-on-one tutoring or assisting in guiding the learner to steer the learning process to a successful outcome (Hoska, 1993), students preferred to be praised often (Burnett, 2001), that boys had significantly higher perceptions of self-efficacy in mathematics than girls (Junge & Dretzke 1995), and that students who received feedback showed more motivation, self-efficacy, and skill increase than students who did not receive feedback. (Schunk, 1991).

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Limitations Population sample Lack of repeated measures Considering other variables that contribute to an individuals self-efficacy and self-perception skills Discrepancies amongst past researchers results about gender and self-efficacy Assessments used Availability of tutors for replications of this study How students felt about tutor (gender, age) and if they were comfortable with the tutor How students respond to and process feedback Individual preferences in regards to praise

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Final Statement This study highlights the importance of providing students with praise, in addition to feedback, in order to increase their self-efficacy and self-perception skills in the area of mathematics. In order for students self-efficacy and self-perception skills to increase, a variety of areas need to be assessed in order to accurately provide students with ways to reach their highest potential in the classroom and beyond. Future studies should investigate these various areas thoroughly.

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References Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman. Burnett, P.C., (2002). Teacher Praise and feedback and students perceptions of the classroom environment. Educational Psychology, 22, 5-16. Hitz, R., & Driscoll, A.(1994). Give Encouragement. Texas Child Care, Spring 1984, 3-11. Hoska, D.M. (1993). Motivating learners through CBI feedback: Developing a positive learner perspective. In J.V. Dempsey, & G.C. Sales (Eds.) Interactive Instruction and Feedback (pp. 105-132). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. Lent, R. W., Lopez, F. G., & Bieschke, K. J. (1993). Predicting mathematics-related choice and success behaviors: Test of an expanded social cognitive model. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 42, 223-236. Matsui, T., Matsui, K., & Ohnishi, R. (1990). Mechanisms underlying math self-efficacy learning of college students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 37, 225-238 Narciss, S. (2004). The impact of informative tutoring feedback and self-efficacy on motivation and achievement in concept learning. Experimental Psychology, 51, 214-228. Pajares, F., & Valiante, G. (1999). Grade level and gender differences in the writing self-beliefs of middle school students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 390-405. Schweinle, A., Meyer, D.K., & Turner, J.C., (2006). Striking the right balance: Students motivation and affect in elementary mathematics. Journal of Educational Research, 99, 271- 293. Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26, 207-231. Schunk, D. H., & Gunn, T. P. (1986). Self-efficacy and skill development: Influence of task strategies and attributions. Journal of Educational Research, 79, 238-244.

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