Article Review: Feedback Both Helps and Hinders Learning

Article Review: Feedback Both Helps and Hinders Learning

APA-style help: Emily R. FyfeRittle-Johnson, E. R. (2016). Feedback Both Helps and Hinders Learning: The Casual Role of Prior Knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 – 97


The article ‘Feedback both helps and hinders learning is a research article on the psychological effect of feedback. The paper focuses on both the positive and negative impact that feedback can have to the learner. According to the report, feedback is the information on understanding and performance that a person can apply to reject, modify or confirm prior knowledge. This information is not constant; however, it can vary to different forms. The researchers choose to focus on two types of feedback which are verification plus and wrong-right verification. The main research question of the study is the effect that prior information has on the impact of the input. The objective of the study is paramount to determine the effect of previous knowledge. The question matters because it is crucial for teachers and tutors to know how prior information affects their students. Whether it is positively or negatively. This, in turn, will help in improving the methods of learning to the one that is most suitable for the students or learners. The null hypothesis of the study is prior information does not have any effect on the impact of feedback. The researchers have cited one past study that accepts the null hypothesis stated above. According to (Fyfe et al., 2012) the information contained in the feedback did not have any effect on the impact of the input. Whether the information is correct or not, it would not have any effect on the impact. The study is not in support of the research, but the researchers do predict that using the right strategy the study would yield different results.


The researchers used an initial study sample of 159 children who included both third- and second-grade children. Using the inclusion and exclusion criteria the sample size was reduced to 108 children. There were 41 boys and 67 girls. Although there was no gender balance, the difference was not quite significant. The median age of the children was 8.4 years with the minimum age being 7.2 years and the maximum being 9.8 years. The researchers used screening criteria with the children to measure their understanding of math equivalence. The children were assigned four questions whereby two of those questions gave the researchers an opportunity to know the effect of prior knowledge.

Results and Discussion

The results of the study reject the null hypothesis. According to the study findings, prior information affects the impact of feedback, particularly wrong-right verification feedback.

The findings of this study can have some real-world implication on learning techniques. Some of the methods that are used for teaching need to be altered with or changed because of the effect they pose to the learners.  Although the study has contributed positively to the research, several gaps need to be addressed for future purpose. It does not bring out the adverse effect that prior knowledge has on feedback. Additionally, negative input from sources that have a personal touch can have an impact on an individual’s self-esteem as compared to no feedback. This is a significant concern due to cases of low self-esteem that result in negative behavior change. The researchers should have put more emphasis on negative feedback.

Individual summary and critique of articles

The article has similar results to this work. It supports that prior information affects the impact of feedback although not all types of input but wrong-right verification feedback. The paper is essential for my research work as it serves as a guide on how to measure the effect of prior knowledge. However, there is minimal information on the adverse impact of feedback which needs more research for concrete evidence.