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Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem

Students often comment about motivation – or rather lack of it.  Students’ motivation is a combination of interest, their perceived ability to succeed without having to work too hard, and a feeling that what they are doing is worthwhile.  Feedback messages can build or destroy student motivation – ‘I did all that work and all I got was x%’.  To what extent, then, do the assessments that students carry out and the feedback they get motivate students to learn and be successful (Pickford et al.  2009; Roberts 2010)?

Ways to do this:

  • Structured activities that get progressively more difficult – enables all abilities to succeed to some extent and some to be stretched – differentiation
  • Opportunities for self-assessment with feedback provided (QuestionMark)
  • Providing marks only when students have considered and responded to the feedback comments



Pickford, R., Priestley, J., Ashgar, M., Brown, S., Race, P., Procter, K., Thomas-Osbourne, R., Rayner, A. & Taylor, J. (2009) Designing first-year assessment and feedback: a guide for university staff.  Assessment, learning & teaching, Leeds Metropolitan Univeristy, available at

Roberts, C (2010) Giving feedback, GEES Briefing 1 available at