The motivational paradox of feedback: teacher and student perceptions

L. Murtagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The notion that future performance can be affected by information about previous performance is often expressed in terms of ‘closing the gap’. Feedback has long been recognised as a mechanism through which teaching and learning may be influenced. The current wave of support in the United Kingdom for assessment for learning echoes these sentiments. This paper examines the feedback strategies employed by two experienced literacy practitioners in England. Using data gathered from field observations, interviews and documentary sources, the paper presents evidence of espoused practice associated with feedback, demonstrating that whilst teachers may claim that they make effective use of some feedback strategies to support pupils’ learning and motivation, that this is not supported by empirical data. The paper also identifies that whilst some teachers aim to mark every piece of pupils’ written work for perceived motivational benefits; such a strategy can undermine pupils’ intrinsic motivation and lead to a culture of over-dependency, whereby the locus of control with regard to feedback lies solely with the teacher. The paper concludes by exploring some possible implications for practice with regard to the provision of written feedback in particular
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-540
JournalCurriculum Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2014


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