Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2022

Document Type

Thesis (699 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Kristen Carlson


Feedback, motivation, grades, separation, mastery, focus


There is often a disconnect around instructional feedback between how the instructor intends the feedback to be used and how students actually use it. Research shows that students tend to view feedback as a means to achieve a higher grade, not as a tool for learning. Frequently, this means that feedback is ignored. Students tend to be motivated by performance goals as opposed to mastery goals thereby focusing on point acquisition above all. Therefore, this study explores the question: What is the effect of separating grades from feedback on the motivation of secondary honors students? Learners in this research study participated in one unit of novel study where grades were separated from all forms of feedback in order to determine whether this would change the students’ motivation or focus. Surveys, observation, and a focus group were used to inform the research.

This strategy could provide educators with an opportunity to change the way they grade in order to lessen frustration with students ignoring feedback or not using it effectively. Instructors want students to feel excited about learning but can find themselves constrained by authorized practices. Shifting the purpose of feedback and delaying the grade while still staying within the parameters of the mandated grading system may be the solution many have been seeking. Additionally, this research has the potential to foster students’ perceptions of themselves as motivated learners in control of their education.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.