We present results from a three-year qualitative enquiry, exploring changing student emotions and learning behaviours linked to a student-teacher dialogic assessment approach implemented in a second year undergraduate course at a large teaching-oriented British university. The approach uncovered the inherently emotional experience for students of receiving assessment commentary. Through dialogic feed-forward meetings, negative emotions such as apprehension and anxiety were transformed into positive emotions such as enthusiasm and pleasure. The relational interactions and collaborative reflections in the meeting also had longer-term effects on student self-regulatory and self-efficacious behaviours, relating not only to the specific assessment task but beyond to other second year assignments and into their third year of study. By creating a safe and nurturing learning environment, positive beliefs were built and/or strengthened, empowering students to develop resilient academic behaviours, boosting learning outcomes, and maximising the potential for sustainable learning and academic success. We conclude with implications for practice.