Feedback Dialogues in Elementary Mathematics: An Exploratory Study

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Feedback Dialogues in Elementary Mathematics: An Exploratory Study

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Feedback has been recognized as a powerful tool used in education; and research has shown the powerful effect feedback can have on learning (e.g. Black & William, 1998; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Klueger & DeNisi, 1996). However, conflicting research has also shown feedback can have little or even a negative impact on learning (Bangert-Drowns et al., 1991; Klueger & DeNisi, 1996; Shute, 2008). Additonally, recent research and literature has suggested that feedback move away from a monologue view and towards an interactive, co-constructed dialogic view of feedback (e.g. Askew 2000; Molloy & Boud 2013; Nicol, 2007, 2010). Although there have been recommendations and conceptual frameworks (Nicol 2006; Yang & Carless, 2013) describing what dialogic feedback is, much is still unknown about how to construct dialogic feedback, particularly with elementary students. This qualitative study was designed to explore and describe how a teacher and student co-construct feedback dialogues in order to improve student learning in mathematics. The purpose of this study was to look deeper at how feedback, with regard to specific mathematical tasks, was co-constructed with students. The data included four formative assessments that were each followed by a feedback dialogue with four students from a fourth grade classroom. Findings describe consistencies and patterns across the dialogues that related to how the dialogues began, how they progressed and how they ended. Additionally, theories of dialogic feedback as well as constructivist and socio-cultural theories of learning were applied in order to understand the significance of these patterns. Implications include the importance of explicitly inviting and teaching students how to co-construct feedback dialogues by using the 3 “R’s”: 1) Recognize the Gap; 2) Request Feedback; and 3) Respond to Feedback. Suggestions for how teachers might invite or explicitly teach students how to do the 3 “R’s” are included.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2022. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Mark Vagle. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 146 pages.

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Fagerlund, Chelsey. (2022). Feedback Dialogues in Elementary Mathematics: An Exploratory Study. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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