Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effect of Real-Time Visual Performance Feedback on Teacher Feedback: A Preliminary Investigation

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effect of Real-Time Visual Performance Feedback on Teacher Feedback: A Preliminary Investigation

Article excerpt


Although researchers have identified a number of instructional strategies as evidence-based, teachers often do not employ these practices sufficiently, perpetuating a research-to-practice gap. Traditional professional development is often insufficient to change teacher practice, resulting in a need for specific, supplemental interventions. Performance feedback is one such method that has a growing evidence base. However, while feedback has been demonstrated to be most effective when delivered immediately, performance feedback is often provided to teachers on a deferred schedule (e.g., the next day). In this preliminary investigation with one middle school mathematics teacher, we used a withdrawal design to evaluate a method for delivering visual performance feedback (VPF) in real-time using commonly available technology. Results demonstrated that the teacher's overall frequency of positive feedback increased following VPF delivery, with positive collateral effects on student behavior. Findings suggest the intervention warrants further study; implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Keywords: performance feedback, positive feedback, technology, student behavior


One of the markers of effective teaching practice is the promotion of students' active engagement during instruction (Brophy & Good, 1986; Rosenshine & Berliner, 1978). Data suggest that students who spend more time actively engaged are more likely to demonstrate increased content mastery (Brophy, 1988). Teachers can maintain high levels of engagement in instructional content by implementing effective instructional and classroom management practices that minimize disruptions, downtime, and transitions, and maximize opportunities for student participation. A number of practices have been identified that facilitate high rates of engagement including using clear expectations (Scott, Anderson, & Alter, 2012), modeling (Rosenshine, 1995), providing frequent opportunities to respond (Stichter et al., 2009), and delivering consistent and contingent positive feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).

Positive feedback is a particularly effective practice for shaping students' academic and behavioral performance, and researchers have identified it as an evidence-based practice for a wide variety of students (e.g., Lewis, Hudson, Richter, & Johnson, 2004; Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch, Myers, & Sugai, 2008). Positive feedback consists of teachers' verbal responses to student academic or social behavior that affirm that a response is accurate or acceptable (Hirn, 2011). In a meta-analysis of 196 studies of feedback, Hattie and Timperley (2007) found feedback to be one of the most powerful practices teachers have available to maximize student achievement. With an average effect size of 0.79, feedback had nearly double the average effect of typical school practices. Furthermore, research findings have supported a strong positive correlation between teacher rate of positive feedback and student academic engagement (Allday et al., 2012). Researchers have recommended maintaining relatively high rates of positive feedback and delivering three to five positive feedback statements for every one negative (Scott et al., 2012; Stichter et al., 2009).

Research-to-Practice Gap

Despite the identification of evidence-based instructional practices within the research community, stakeholders have been slow to adopt these practices in schools (Broekkamp & van Hout-Woulters, 2007; Korthagen, 2007). Researchers have explored a variety of factors that potentially contribute to this gap between research and practice. One factor involves educators' beliefs about their own teaching practice. These beliefs are heavily influenced by an individual's history of contact with a variety of reinforcers and are often resistant to change (Korthagen, 2007). Second, practitioners may find that procedures implemented in the context of research studies are difficult to implement effectively in their own setting. …

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