PIDP 3250 MOTIVATION: Grades and feedback on motivation

I have a high level of intrinsic motivation and often get frustrated and wonder why students do not share the same level of motivation as I do.
The forum led to my reflection on grades and feedback on motivation. When I was in school, I was a good student. I was diligent and conscientious. I did my work proudly and looked forward to getting feedback from the teacher. Some teachers gave me a perfect score and the only feedback I received were the words “good job.” Although I was elated at the grade, I was disappointed as I wanted feedback. I now realize that feedback, not grades, is the key to learning. Effective feedback has a role to play in promoting motivation and is often an overlooked part of learning. We should help students improve their learning by taking the time to write comments.
The ‘thing’ that amazed me when I began working at the college is the students’ overreliance on grades. Many students won’t do anything extra if they don’t get a mark for it. For students who care about grades, they focus on the grade and ignore the opportunities to push themselves. After much reflection, I realize that grades can reduce the quality of students’ thinking. Students are motivated by the final course grade and not the learning that goes into it. I find that students skim the textbooks for what they “need to know” and are less likely to question the learning than to ask “Is this going to be on the test?” Using grades as the carrot to lure students is harmful to learning. Would students work better if they didn’t think about marks? Grades are not only a reward, but also a great reason for stress for those who don’t want to get a bad mark. I know that an important tool to help motivate students is to make them feel successful in their learning and activities. It is imperative that I show them that hard work leads to success.
Following this reflection I realize that I place too much emphasis on grades and performance with my own children As a parent and an educator I need to remind my children and students that grades will come if you work hard and have a great work ethic. I need to move the students focus towards learning rather than grades.



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