Volume 7

The Perceived Effects of Positive and Negative Teacher Comments on Written Assignments

Melissa Lennox and Maureen Maskell

This study was developed to examine the perceived helpfulness of teachers’ editorial comments and their effect on students’ writing anxiety. One hundred and fifteen undergraduate college students, mostly white women, were presented with a sample student essay including one of four types of teacher comments. The teacher comments were categorized as negative, positive, vague, and specific. Students completed surveys measuring perceived helpfulness of comments and writing anxiety. Results indicated that specific comments were viewed as more helpful than vague comments whereas evaluations of positive and negative comments did not differ. Self-reports indicated that the majority of college students take a limited number of courses that allow for writing development.

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