•  
  •  
 

Abstract

The present study investigates written performance feedback through the lens of politeness theory. Study 1 examined the types of comments instructors offer to students when they provide written feedback on speeches as well as the relationship between these comments and students' grades.

Results demonstrate that instructors used an overabundance of positive politeness messages and virtually no negative politeness messages. Students who received a higher grade were more likely to receive fewer face threats and more positive politeness messages than those students' who received a lower grade. The results also suggest that instructors are more willing to threaten a students' negative face than their positive face. Study 2 extended the research project by examining students' perceptions of instructor feedback students deem the most helpful. Results indicate that students desire a balance between their grade and the number of positive politeness comments they receive as well as more comments that threaten their face. Students in this study also found specific written feedback as the most helpful type of feedback they received.