College of Education

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Project Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Spencer K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Julia Carskadon, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

G. Peter Ienatsch, Ph.D.


The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether the type of written or verbal positive comment regarding a child's accomplishment influences subsequent interest in a task. A preliminary investigation of literature revealed that often rewards and praise negatively alter children's behavior. The writer tested the hypothesis derived from this investigation that non- evaluative descriptive comments, commonly called encouragement, positively affect children more than evaluative praise comments. 32 kindergarten and 36 third grade children received evaluative praise comments and 31 kindergarten and 42 third grade children received non- evaluative descriptive comments on drawings for three days. The fourth day, children had a choice of drawing an assigned picture or another picture with the knowledge that only the assigned picture would receive comments. The fifth day, all children had the same choice with the knowledge that no drawing would receive comments. The results showed that more third grade children in the encouragement group continued the assigned task on both days. Kindergarten children in the praise group evidenced more intense participation the fourth day, but participation was the same between groups the fifth day.



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