WWC review of this study

The Benefits of Computer-Generated Feedback for Mathematics Problem Solving [Computer-Generated Summative Feedback ]

Fyfe, Emily R.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany (2016). Journal of Experimental Child Psychology v147 p140-151. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED566264

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: October 2022

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Algebra outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Researcher-developed math equivalence test

Computer-generated summative feedback - Fyfe et al., (2016) vs. Business as usual

1 Day

Summative feedback vs. no feedback;
49 students




Show Supplemental Findings

Researcher-developed math equivalence test: learning subscale

Computer-generated summative feedback - Fyfe et al., (2016) vs. Business as usual

1 Day

Summative feedback vs. no feedback;
49 students





Researcher-developed math equivalence test: transfer subscale

Computer-generated summative feedback - Fyfe et al., (2016) vs. Business as usual

1 Day

Summative feedback vs. no feedback;
49 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 55%
    Male: 45%

  • Suburban, Urban
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  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Other or unknown    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


The study took place in one public and one private elementary school in Tennessee. One school was located in an urban setting and the other was located in a suburban setting. No other information about the characteristics of the two schools was available. Students participated in the study in one-on-one sessions with a member of the study team.

Study sample

A total of 49 students in grade 2 were included in the study. The 49 students were in two schools. The study does not describe demographic characteristics for the analytic sample included in the study. Rather, the authors reported demographics for 73 students in the combined analysis samples for two studies (this study, contrasting the summative feedback to no feedback comparison condition, and a separate study contrasting an immediate feedback intervention to the no feedback comparison condition). Of these 73 students, 55 percent were female and 45 percent were male.

Intervention Group

The computer-generated summative feedback intervention is an individual-level practice in which a student completes a computer-based assessment consisting of 12 math problems. After the student completes all 12 problems, the computer displays the correct answers along with the student’s response. There was no indication that the child's responses were correct or incorrect other than what the child could infer by comparing her responses with the correct answers.

Comparison Group

In the no feedback comparison condition, students completed the 12 math problems without receiving feedback. Students did not see the correct answer or any indication that their answer was correct or incorrect either after completing each problem or after completing all 12 problems.

Support for implementation

No additional supports for implementation were described in the study.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • McNeil, Nicole M.; Fyfe, Emily R.; Petersen, Lori A.; Dunwiddie, April E.; Brletic-Shipley, Heather. (2011). Benefits of Practicing 4 = 2 + 2: Nontraditional Problem Formats Facilitate Children's Understanding of Mathematical Equivalence. Child Development, v82 n5 p1620-1633.

  • Fyfe, Emily R. (2016). Providing Feedback on Computer-Based Algebra Homework in Middle-School Classrooms. Computers in Human Behavior v63 p568-574.


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