Rapid Feedback May Improve Performance

EDMONTON, Alberta, April 3 (UPI) — How quickly a person expects to receive a grade or evaluation may influence how well a person performs, Canadian researchers suggest.

Keri L. Kettle and Gerald Haubl of the University of Alberta recruited students enrolled in a class that required each student to give a 4-minute oral presentation.

The presentations were rated by classmates on a scale from 0 for poor to 10 for excellent. The student’s grade was computed using the average of the ratings given by the other students.

Students agreeing to join the study were told when they would receive feedback for their presentation. The students were also asked to predict their grades.

The study subjects were randomly assigned to feedback from the same day to seven days.

The study, published in Psychological Science, found the students who were told they would receive feedback quickly did better than students who expected later feedback, yet the students who expected to receive their grades quickly predicted their performance would be worse.

“People do best precisely when their predictions about their own performance are least optimistic,” the study authors said in a statement.

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