Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Choi, Namok

Author's Keywords

Evaluative feedback; Self-efficacy; Math achievement; Algebra; Ninth-grade


Algebra--Study and teaching (Secondary); Motivation in education; Feedback (Psychology)


The double-blind study used two intact ninth grade high school Algebra One classes for a total sample size of 46. Within each of the classes the participants were assigned randomly to one of three treatment groups: self-referenced feedback, social-referenced feedback, and a control group. Self-referenced feedback compared the student's performance to his or her previous performances. Social-referenced feedback compared the student's performance to that of the other students in the class. The control group did not receive comparative feedback but innocuous comments such as "study your notes before class." Six measurements of math self-efficacy, grade self-efficacy, and math achievement were taken over a five-month interval. Research questions investigated how students' math self-efficacy, grade self-efficacy, and math achievement changed over time; and whether students' math self-efficacy, grade self-efficacy, and math achievement varied by treatment group over time. Results of multilevel analysis indicated that all three of the dependent variables changed over time with significant p-values for the intercepts and slopes using a linear unconditional growth model. No significant differences in math or grade self-efficacy were found by treatment group, however, the self-referenced group exhibited linear growth in math self-efficacy over the last four measurements. The social-referenced feedback group showed a growth pattern similar to that of the control group for math self-efficacy but had the lowest math self-efficacy rating on the last measurement. Mathematical models of grade self-efficacy indicated that the self-referenced feedback group had higher certainties for achieving higher grades than the other two feedback groups even though the results were not significant. The social-referenced feedback group did not exhibit different grade self-efficacy for achieving higher grades in the course from the control group. Math achievement changed significantly by treatment group. While this study indicated only minimal improvements in the Diagnostic Exam scores, the self-referenced feedback treatment group exhibited a rate of change more than five times that of the control group, and more than one and a half times that of the social-referenced feedback treatment group.