Seminar Series

When Feedback Is Forgotten

Students frequently receive feedback that evaluates how well they achieved in the past, and feedback that directs them on what to improve in future. But how much of this feedback do students actually remember? Surprisingly, virtually no published research addresses this important question. Based both on educational findings and on theory from the memory literature, though, we predicted that future-oriented (directive) feedback should be better remembered than past-oriented (evaluative) feedback. In this seminar I will outline a series of lab and online experiments that we conducted to test this prediction. Our initial findings uncovered two distinct biases that appear to shape how people remember performance feedback. Building upon our initial findings, we began a surprisingly complex journey of trying to figure out when and why these memory biases actually occur. I will ask what implications these biases might have for our understanding of “best-practice” in the giving and receiving of assessment feedback.