Can performance feedback during instruction boost knowledge acquisition? Contrasting criterion-based and social comparison feedback

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Feedback indicating how well students are performing during a learning task can be very stimulating. In this study with a pre- and post-test design, the effects of two types of performance feedback on learning results were compared: feedback during a learning task was either stated in terms of how well the students were performing relative to other students (social comparison feedback) or relative to an absolute criterion (criterion-based feedback). Thirty-four students in secondary vocational engineering education were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. In both conditions, students worked together in small groups. All groups completed a math learning task, during which they received either social comparison feedback or criterion-based performance feedback. The findings showed that the type of feedback had a strong effect on learning outcomes: the post-test scores and gains of students in the social comparison condition were significantly higher than those of students in the criterion-based feedback condition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1428-1438
JournalInteractive learning environments
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2016



  • IR-95509
  • METIS-310258

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