Closing The Feedback-standard Gap With The Use Of A Performance Feedback And Goal Setting Intervention To Improve Elementary Students' Writing Fluency

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Tanya Eckert


Elementary;Feedback;Fluency;Goal setting;Intervention;Written expression

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


A significant national concern is that the majority of elementary-aged students are not writing at the level expected of them, with 72% performing below grade level in writing fluency (Persky, Daane, & Jin, 2003). Empirically validated interventions are needed in order to improve the writing fluency of elementary-aged students (National Commission on Writing, 2003). Performance feedback interventions successfully lead to students' gains in writing fluency (Eckert et al., 2006), and research suggests that setting goals benefits students' academic performance (Locke & Latham, 1991). Further, it has been suggested that the combination of feedback and goal setting leads to greater performance than either component alone (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996; Hattie & Timperley, 2007), and that graphing performance in relation to a goal can lead to improvements in academic performance (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986). The goal of the proposed study was to examine the writing fluency growth of 115 third-grade students participating in a performance feedback intervention combined with a salient goal setting component (i.e., self-graphing) (n = 39) in comparison to students participating in a performance feedback condition (n = 39) or a control condition (n = 38). As hypothesized, students in the two intervention conditions significantly improved their writing fluency over the course of the study, averaging a weekly gain of approximately 1.85 to 2.12 correct writing sequences, in contrast to students participating in a control condition who averaged a weekly gain of 0.82 correct writing sequences. However, contrary to one of the major hypotheses, providing students with an additional goal setting component incorporating self-graphing did not improve students' writing fluency more than performance feedback alone. Considerations regarding the use of developmentally appropriate goals and self-graphing procedures, as well as limitations of the study, are discussed.


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