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How Feedback Works

How Feedback Works
A Playbook

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September 2022 | 240 pages | Corwin

Feedback keeps learning moving forward.

You have the power to improve everything about teaching and learning—through excellent feedback. Make it precise. Timely. Actionable. Feedback is absolutely necessary for learning, and is the one ingredient that, if missing, will hinder the learning process. In this Playbook, you will not only learn how to give effective feedback—but have abundant opportunities to practice this skill (and get feedback) as you learn.

Bestselling authors John Almarode, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey brilliantly organize this resource into 16 modules on the 4 C’s of Feedback:

Care — create a culture in which teachers, students and leaders embrace feedback as a continuous loop of giving, receiving, and integrating suggestions

Credibility — know how to stoke relatability, dynamism, and trust—and avoid the three most common barriers to students’ acting on feedback

Clarity — align your learning goals, success criteria, and strategies so you gain the most useful evidence during learning from which to generate feedback.

Communication — give feedback with intention, by speaking to the task; or to the learner’s process, or to the learner’s ability to monitor their own progress.

Feedback is futile unless it motivates students to change their approach the next time, and still love learning. With the How Feedback Works: A Playbook you have the essential guide to ensuring students go-get their highest potential.

Part I: Setting the Foundations for How Feedback Works
Module 1: What is Feedback?
Module 2: What Does the Latest Research Say about Feedback?
Module 3: What Does the Feedback Process Look Like in Action?
Module 4: What are the Four Foundational Elements of Feedback?
Module 5: What are the Barriers to Giving, Receiving, and Integrating Feedback?
Part II: The 4 C’s: Care, Credibility, Clarity, and Communication
Module 6: What is the Role of Care in How Feedback Works?
Module 7: What is the Role of Credibility in How Feedback Works?
Module 8: How Important is Clarity in How Feedback Works?
Module 9: What is the Role of Evidence in How Feedback Works?
Module 10: What Role do Teacher and Student Noticing Play in How Feedback Works?
Module 11: What are the Similarities and Differences between the Four Types of Feedback?
Module 12: How Should Feedback be Communicated?
Module 13: How do Cues and Reinforcements Communicate Feedback?
Module 14: How Can Technology Communicate Feedback?
Module 15: How do Practice Tests Communicate Feedback?
Module 16: How can we Engage our Learners in Communicating Feedback?


Feedback is complicated, complex, and layered. How Feedback Works made it feel possible and easy! As someone who is familiar with formative assessment practices, which include feedback and peer feedback, I saw the through line immediately. Each module addresses a different type of feedback but also adds a deeper understanding of feedback as new ideas are discussed in various ways. This book added to my own knowledge and pushed me to think a little differently.

Jeni Mcintyre
Director of Data-Driven Instruction, Tulsa Public Schools

The contents of this book are accurate, coherent, consistent in theme, and backed up with references and plausible examples. This playbook provides appropriate and relevant guidance for teachers, including learning outcomes and information on misconceptions. It is relevant for all levels of learners in this field—from the lead to the highly accomplished to the proficient and provisional educators.

Leanne Hebden
Quality Teaching Coach, Literacy, Instructional Leader, Department of Education, Tasmania, Kingston Primary School

Feedback is the missing link. As educators, we know the important role that feedback plays not just for our students, but for our teaching as well. And yet if we do not understand what that feedback looks like and sounds like, we can never truly know the depth of our impact. How Feedback Works gives the teacher the tools they need to know exactly when to use feedback and the kind of feedback that should be given.

Barbara Lane
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools“

Feedback is one of education’s most powerful assets in moving learning forward, yet it’s often the most misunderstood. How Feedback Works ties in pedagogical principles with cognitive science and educational psychology to explain not only how to give effective feedback, but also how to create the structures and conditions necessary for feedback to maximize its potential on student learning. Through explanation, models, and guided practice, this playbook capitalizes on the research to help educators better understand and implement feedback that moves students to and through their next levels of learning. As an educator who coaches teachers, prekindergarten through twelfth grade, I’m excited to have this gem in my back pocket as a relevant reference to share with my colleagues and for developing my own knowledge and skill set around all things feedback.

Kierstan Barbee
Director of Assessment for Learning

The methods to support feedback are easily able to be adopted and utilised by practitioners- taking the elements from the text as worksheets for the classroom and then as practical tools for their own placements and future work. Excellent text

Mr Julian Ayres
School of Education and Community, Wrexham Glyndwr University
March 21, 2023

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