School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gail L. Collins


Feedback Typology, Formative Assessment, Motivation, Self-Determination Theory


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Methods


The purpose of this grounded theory study was to develop a general theory explaining how verbal or written teacher feedback on formative assessments may influence early adolescent motivation for academic achievement, along the SDT continuum. I based this study on Deci and Ryan’s (2000) self-determination theory (SDT), and to a lesser degree expectancy-value theory (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) and self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1993). I also used Tunstall and Gipps’ (1996) typology research as a framework for describing and classifying feedback in the data. Related literature and research findings are presented to lay a foundation for the study and identify the gap in the literature. Philosophical assumptions and interpretive framework are identified, as they guide how the problem is delineated, the purpose of the study and its significance in adding to existing knowledge. Four northeast Ohio public school teachers and four to 12 students selected from each of their respective fifth or sixth-grade classes participated in this study via self-determination theory questionnaires for students, teacher demographic surveys, and interviews, student focus groups and classroom observations. This data was analyzed to determine codes and their link to one another in relation to a core theme. Corbin and Strauss’ (2015) grounded theory methodology was utilized, to answer the question of how feedback from a teacher on formative assessments influences student motivation for academic achievement. The study revealed that teacher feedback that is descriptive impacts students’ sense of competence and relatedness and, thus, improves students’ controlled motivation. Similarly, though to a lesser degree, evaluative feedback impacts students’ sense of competence too, but it can also lead to amotivation.