How gaps between target and midcourse grades impact undergraduates’ studying intentions and grade improvements
MacKenzie, H.F. "Herb"
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We examine how gaps between students’ chosen target grades and actual midcourse grades relate to their exam studying intentions and subsequent grade improvements. We further investigate whether those relationships are moderated by students’ academic ability (as measured by high school averages) and implicit theory of intelligence or mindset (as measured by questionnaire scores). Our study involved 250 undergraduate students in a first-year business course. The study used linear regression to analyze survey responses at the course’s beginning, survey responses near the course’s end, and actual course grades. The analysis showed students had greater studying intentions and grade improvements when midcourse grades were farther below initial target grades. Mindset moderated the relationship between grade gaps and studying intentions, whereas academic ability moderated the relationship between grade gaps and grade improvements. These results enhance our knowledge of how students respond to grade feedback and could help instructors assist students to make better decisions about their studying.