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Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom

Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom
New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities

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February 2023 | 384 pages | Corwin

Put feedback to work for everyone to make a difference—now

Feedback connects, deepens communication, and helps everyone focus on advancing student learning. What if you could use the dimensions and facets of formative feedback in ways that emphasize authenticity, equity, and care for ALL students?

Educators Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg show you how to plan, enact, and reflect on feedback practices within lessons and across units using an accessible, comprehensive, and innovative framework that illuminates the path towards equity and excellence for all. With evidence-based research and real classroom examples, Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom answers:

  • What is formative feedback? How does it influence student outcomes and teacher pedagogy?
  • Why are well-defined learning goals, aligned with rich tasks and progress guides, essential to making feedback truly formative?
  • What are essential facets of teacher, peer, and self-driven feedback?
  • How does feedback work best in whole-class, small group, or individual configurations?
  • What can make written, spoken, and nonverbal feedback modalities more effective—for all?
  • How can focusing on feedback improve learning across all subject matter disciplines?

Prompts for self-reflection, videos, vignettes, and scaffolds throughout help readers see how effective feedback can be embedded into classrooms and school communities committed to discovery, growth, and deeper learning.

What Readers Can Download and Print
List of Videos
About the Authors
How to Use this Book
Learning Goals, Tasks, and Cycles of Feedback for Continuous Improvement
Chapter 1: On the Role of Learning Goals, Tasks, and Cycles of Feedback for Continuous Improvement
Chapter 2: Teacher-Driven Feedback
Chapter 3: Peer-to-Peer Driven Feedback
Chapter 4: Self-Driven Feedback
Chapter 5: Feedback With the Whole Class
Chapter 6: Feedback With Small Groups
Chapter 7: Feedback With Individuals
Chapter 8: Written Feedback
Chapter 9: Spoken Feedback
Chapter 10: Nonverbal Feedback
Self-Study Checklist


I love the book! It was a quick read and super useful. As an educational leader on the ground, I found the clarity of the spoken feedback chapter a “for sure we need to study” at my site. Teachers love to give verbal feedback, but meaningful feedback that acknowledges the work, gives specifics, and pushes for students to continue to grow is a hard balance. I also find the chapter on nonverbal feedback extremely useful, especially when we think of students new to the country where English may be a second or third language. When I think about newcomers, they are on constant overload. They are listening to a language they do not fully understand, reading a language that may be very odd, and trying to understand what someone is saying. The combinations of spoken, nonverbal, and written feedback suggested in this book can make a tangible difference. Regardless of what levels of language learners are in your classroom, everyone wants to be better and grow. Can’t wait to grab Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom for my staff when it comes out! 

Amber Andrade
Principal, Paradise Valley Engineering Academy, Morgan Hill Unified School District

I enjoyed this book, and if you are an educator keen to provide feedback that is effective and equitable for your students, so will you. The book covers some territory that may initially be familiar, with formative assessment practices as its backdrop, but it does so from new vantage points and with connections to a slew of different strategies that can deepen those practices so teachers provide feedback to advance student learning or to facilitate their students in providing feedback to one another or engaging in self-driven formative feedback. The power of this book stems from the different ways the authors support the reader’s own learning—they use some of the very techniques they are promoting with our students. Using guiding questions and the SOLO taxonomy, the reader is invited to gauge their own learning about formative assessment and feedback along the way. “Scaffolds and Guided Practice” sections, discussion starters, and activities for lesson study and professional learning communities as well as “Try It Tomorrow” ideas that include useful tips for using technology to efficiently record and share feedback provide opportunities for educators to try out suggestions. A “Ticket Out the Door” section at the close of each chapter prompts both further practice and reflection. All this adds up to skillfully answering the central question of the book: How can we use feedback effectively and equitably to ensure all of our students are ready for college and the workplace because they know how to and are able to use feedback for continuous improvement?"

Alison Bailey
Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Former Project Director for Assessing English Language Proficiency at the Center for The Study of Evaluation & National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing

"This book couldn’t be more timely. As the world heals from a pandemic and school leaders and teachers are expected to accelerate student learning and address their social-emotional needs, the commitment to feedback for all can help us feel and be more connected. I appreciate the focus on equity and excellence that lies at the heart of each chapter. Duckor and Holmberg understand that formative assessment and continuous feedback are critical to engaging, eliciting, and extending student learning. This book provides concrete research-based tools with videos, reflective questions, vignettes, and self-assessments to help us engage students in their learning through formative feedback. If your staff engage in these practices, your students are sure to benefit!"

Blanca Baltazar-Sabbah
Former Associate Superintendent, Salinas Unified High School District

"Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities is an absolute must-have for educators energized to close existing opportunity gaps by putting student work back at the center of learning. By using formative feedback as a tool to create schools that “work for all students,” Duckor and Holmberg weave authentic stories, practical strategies, and evidence-based practices that capitalize on their extensive partnerships with PreK–12 schools. Targeted for pre-service and in-service teachers, school administrators, and teacher educators, this book is essential for any educator searching for how to enact transformational practices. I loved it and I am confident my teacher candidates will, too!"

Nicole Barnes
Professor, Department of Educational Foundations, Montclair State University

"Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities is a “must-read” for educators at every level. It is chock-full of practical examples and guiding questions and is the perfect guide for improving assessment practices in classrooms. I intend to use it in a book study with educators in my work this year."

Carrie Bosco
Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction, Los Altos School District

"The authors’ commitment to every child having the right to learn as part of democratic education shines through the book, as does their commitment to feedback as the exchange of information that serves as the link between equity and excellence. Throughout the text, research evidence is interleaved with practical examples and prompts for reflection and self-assessment. The classroom examples in particular resonated with me. Throughout, the nature of and possibilities for student participation are outlined with sensitivity and respect for student ideas and agency. I can readily imagine that Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom could anchor productive and provocative individual and collective learning aligned with the authors’ vision of education as an opportunity for students and teachers to learn, care, and experience joy."

Bronwen Cowie
Professor and Associate Dean of Research, University of Waikato New Zealand

"Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom is a deft, accomplished guide to an important but seldom examined feature of teaching. While reforms come and go, feedback will remain an enduring feature of teachers’ work in our schools. Both novice and mid-career teachers will benefit from this book."

Larry Cuban
Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

"Busy practitioners want to know what to do tomorrow. Duckor and Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom delivers the try it tomorrow and tech tips to get feedback happening now in your classroom. Putting aside the dysfunctional detail and stale ideas about the role of rubrics, the authors open up new possibilities with progress guides for student, peer, and teacher-led assessment that deepen learning. All teacher educators can use this book as a resource to teach the how and the why while getting new feedback processes and routines up and running with novices and more seasoned instructors at your school. Both practical and philosophically grounded, this book is a worthy addition to the playbook of any progressive, equity-minded educator."

Ben Daley
President, High Tech High Graduate School of Education

"Duckor and Holmberg’s latest book, Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom, challenges society’s obsession with grades, turning our attention toward ways in which specific, timely formative feedback invites TK–12 students to reflect upon, deepen, and stretch their thinking, shedding light on understanding and possibilities. This is the real work of teaching and learning. Going beyond the research findings, this book proposes actionable ways teachers might better embed formative feedback into their curriculum, creating a feedback-rich school culture—one classroom, one student at a time."

Annamarie M. Francois
Executive Director, UCLA Center X and UC Representative, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, UCLA School of Education & Information Studies

"There are many books on feedback, but hardly any have sticking power. Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom is a deep winner. It is comprehensive yet specific and powerful in all respects. The chapter formats are well-designed for garnering author insights, using guiding questions, identifying purpose-driven feedback goals, and accessing a plethora of tools, organizers, videos, and touchpoints to advance schools and systems from inside the classroom. The core of their action-oriented formative feedback framework is crystal clear and well-aligned with other reform efforts across California and beyond. The book is based on the premise of teacher-driven, teacher-led change that enables leaders in the building as well as peers to join as guides on the side in the promise of effective feedback for all children. I especially liked the chapter on peer-driven feedback with its guiding questions and other tools to promote focused collaboration in the classroom. The authors provide very clear distinctions about what peer-driven formative feedback is and isn’t and they consistently offer practical tips and to-do’s to bring everyone toward deeper learning and consensus on what matters. All in all, Duckor and Holmberg’s latest book is a treasure trove of ideas, insights, and schemas that benefit individuals as well as teams and groups of teachers. It covers the gamut of feedback exchanges from individuals to small groups to the whole class and back to oneself. This is a true accomplishment, in large part, based on their deep experiences with middle and high school assessment reform for many decades."

Michael Fullan
Global Leadership Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning

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