Wise feedback and trust in higher education: A quantitative and qualitative exploration of undergraduate students' experiences with critical feedback

Alexandra Troy, Hnubci Moua, Martin Van Boekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we explore students' engagement with critical feedback in an authentic university setting. Findings support the centrality of strong relationships in the feedback process. Study 1 was the first conceptual replication and extension of Yeager et al.'s (2014) wise feedback intervention to test the effectiveness/efficacy in a new setting. Undergraduate students (n = 94) were randomly assigned to receive a wise feedback message (explicitly stated the instructor's high expectations and belief in the student's ability to meet those expectations) or a control message. Although we did not replicate prior findings, we observed high initial levels of institutional and relational trust, which was maintained across the semester for students in both conditions. In Study 2, we conducted interviews with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students (n = 6), to explore the underlying assumptions of wise feedback (i.e., attributional ambiguity) and their experiences with critical feedback in higher education. Although these discussions were nuanced, and will be unpacked further, generally students highlighted the role of feedback in bolstering or deteriorating their relationships with instructors. These findings have implications for educators who are tasked with providing critical feedback while simultaneously protecting relational dynamics with students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology in the Schools
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Psychology in the Schools published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • attributional ambiguity
  • critical feedback
  • feedback literacy
  • student–teacher relationships
  • trust

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