The Attributions of Students’ Confidence Judgments and Related Feedback


Confidence judgement
feedback preferences
university students


Much research has demonstrated that low performers tend to be prone to overconfidence, while high performers are disposed to underconfidence. Still, students’ attributions for their confidence judgements and how their judgements relate to academic attitudes, such as feedback preferences, remains undetermined. Undergraduate students in eight introductory psychology classes made confidence judgements for their psychology midterm exam, then reported their attributions for the estimate. One week later, students received their exam score back, assessed how their actual performance compared to their expectations and ranked their feedback preferences.  Consistent with past work, low performers were overconfident and high performers were slightly underconfident. Overconfident students made significantly more internal and external attributions than underconfident students. The most influential attributions for both groups were the perceived difficulty and relevancy of exam questions. Additionally, a significant negative relationship between confidence judgement bias and feedback preferences suggests that as students become underconfident their preference for fewer feedback increases. These results indicate that overconfident learners are more motivated to provide explanations for their confidence judgements, possibly due to cognitive dissonance between their expected ability and actual ability. Contrary to expectations, overconfidence did not have a relationship with maladaptive feedback preferences. Future work would benefit from using alternative methodologies, such as using open-ended questions or a think-aloud protocol.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.