Positivity ratio – productivity, motivation, flourish

Even the smallest shots of positivity can give someone a serious competitive edge. (Achor, 48 pag.)

Tis the season…Either exams were just completed or the prep for them is beginning. I wonder how we might employ the positivity ratio in our feedback, comments, and marks as exams are scored and returned to learners. Usually exams are considered summative assessment, but at the end of first semester, could they be also be used as informing assessment?

Once positive emotions outnumbered negative emotions by 3 to 1— that is, for every three instances of feeling gratitude, interest, or contentment, they experienced only one instance of anger, guilt, or embarrassment— people generally flourished.  (Pink, 107 pag.)

As we have seen, even the smallest moments of positivity in the workplace can enhance efficiency, motivation, creativity, and productivity. (Achor, 58 pag.)

What if we experiment with influence of the positivity ratio? What if every learner found a note attached to the scored exam that identified details of strengths exhibited on the exam as well as areas for growth in a 3:1 ratio?  How might we enhance motivation and productivity? How might we impact opportunities to flourish?


Achor, Shawn (2010-09-14). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.


  1. I absolutely agree, Jill, and love the idea of teachers doing this. I used to do this with every test where students completed a self-evaluation as to their strengths and goals for the next time. I would sign with them and sometimes added something. I found students not only enjoyed this, but expressed more confidence in their abilities and more tenacity to reach a goal they set for themselves.


  2. I really like this idea, Jill, and honestly it’s an area I need to improve on as a teacher. I very easily get in the mode of trying to help students overcome areas of weakness or error. I need to take more time to validate their strengths and accomplishments. I’m still trying to decide on what my goals for 2014 are going to be, but this is a good push. Perhaps I’ll fold this into my plans. Thanks for the push and Happy New Year!


  3. Happy New Year, Philip!
    Thank you for your thinking here. As you know, I’m a big fan of Switch, the Heath Brothers, and working in bright spots. I’d love to help you brainstorm how to fold this into your plans for goals in 2014.


Leave a Reply to Angel Kytle Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.