Searching students’ reflective writing for linguistic correlates of their tendency to ignore instructors’ feedback

Robert A. Nash*, Jason Michael Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Students who ignore feedback are poorly positioned to reap its intended benefits. In this study we examined three reflective assignments written by undergraduate Psychology students about their experiences of receiving feedback. We also recorded what proportion of their instructors’ feedback each student had accessed during the first two years of their degree, plus their average grades. Using linguistic text analysis software we searched for linguistic features of students’ reflective writing that were statistically associated with their tendency to ignore instructors’ feedback. We found no meaningful associations between feedback-accessing and students’ language use. Exploratory analyses, however, indicated that a greater tendency to ignore feedback was associated with lower grades, and that students with lower grades tended to focus relatively more on the past or present in their reflections than on the future. We discuss the possible merits of using language as an indirect measure in studies of feedback literacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalAssessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice
Issue number1
Early online date20 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.


  • Feedback
  • assessment
  • engagement
  • grades
  • language
  • text analysis


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