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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


"Duckor and Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom fills an important gap between the general knowledge that formative feedback is critical for supporting student learning and the knowledge of how to actually provide students the feedback that will support them best. The power of the book lies in the balance between a framework that provides a comprehensive view of the different contexts and types of feedback and the specific details of how those factors shape what the most effective feedback structures and approaches look like in practice. This work will be critical to policymakers looking to better connect systems of support to the daily work of equity-driven teaching and learning in California schools.

H. Alix Gallagher
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)

"In Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom, Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg combine important scholarly insights from past and current reforms with deep knowledge from their work as expert educators to produce a blueprint for building equitable schools that enable all students to learn and grow continuously. The book’s focus on classroom teaching with rich tasks and real-world projects aptly re-centers the need for authentic assessment in the 21st century. By bringing forth a vision of the future that builds firmly on past reform, Brent and Carrie’s work offers policymakers and practitioners a solid foundation for progress in supporting success for all."

Linda Darling Hammond
President, California State Board of Education

"In their compelling book, Duckor and Holmberg make a powerful, nuanced case for the necessity of feedback for a democratic education. They spell out why and how both teacher-driven and student-driven feedback works, offer lots of practical advice (including many examples of feedback as well as advice from teachers), and provide structured opportunities for readers’ reflection and self-assessment. Anyone who wants to understand the value of feedback and how to put it into practice to benefit learning should definitely read this book."

Margaret Heritage
Educational Consultant and Author

"Teachers in different types of schools, regions, and cultural contexts will all find this book very relevant and helpful to their work. As formative assessment has become an important ingredient in classroom instruction, the question of how to give formative feedback follows naturally. Yet, limited resources are available on feedback. This book provides a framework to understand formative feedback as well as many concrete suggestions on how to take action in various classroom settings. With guiding questions, definition boxes, and well-selected examples, the chapters are easy to read and the tips from the authors are easy to implement. In summary, Duckor and Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom is a wonderful reference on formative feedback. It will be worthwhile to have different language versions of this book so that teachers in other countries and regions can benefit from it, too."

Xiaoting Huang
Graduate School of Education Peking University, China

"Feedback has been argued to be an important and powerful tool in a teacher’s pedagogical repertoire, and yet it often remains fleeting and practiced without deep considerations of the complex suite of curricular ideas and instructional and assessment strategies that can empower learners and learning. Duckor and Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom is a research-informed, authentic, and easy-to-read book that provides practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of formative feedback that can improve their practices and increase student engagement and learning. The book beautifully weaves together theory, research, evidence, examples, and practical ideas in a highly accessible manner to help teachers effectively mobilize feedback in constructive and powerful ways in their classrooms. Through their formative feedback framework, Duckor and Holmberg have produced a fantastic resource for teachers in any educational setting to reflect on their own practice; engage deeply with fundamental ideas on feedback, rich tasks, learning goals, learning contexts, configurations, modalities, and directionalities of feedback; and ultimately bring their feedback practices to the next level."

Dennis Kwek
Director, Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Associate Dean Strategic Engagement, National Institute of Education, Singapore

"Huge kudos to Brent Duckor and Carrie Holmberg for offering our communities Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities. The depth, breadth, and practicality of this book will be a great tool for teachers and those who support teachers in improving teaching, learning, and assessment. Our own gold standards for project-based learning design and teaching elements are highly aligned with the tools and processes detailed in Duckor and Holmberg’s book. Their unique focus on long-cycle projects, utilizing different lenses on feedback with shared progress guides, is a welcome innovation. There are many synergies, including elements of reflection, critique, and revision and student voice and choice in our design elements, and assessment and scaffolding of student learning in our teaching elements at PBL Works. Our curriculum and teacher consulting teams at the Buck Institute for Education (PBL Works and PBL Now) look forward to sharing Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities and its strategies with the teachers and education leaders we work with across the United States and the world."

Bob Lenz
President, PBL Works

"There is a general consensus in the field that instructional feedback has great potential to improve a range of student outcomes. However, questions of how it works, for whom, and under what instructional circumstances still stand. Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities will help you to get answers to these—and many other—questions. If you want to understand the nature, purpose, applications, processing, and caveats of feedback, this book is for you. It is a terrific resource for teacher candidates, in-service teachers, and researchers who want a quick yet thorough introduction to the field of feedback. Thank you for this terrific volume!"

Anastasiya Lipnevich
Professor, Queens College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York

"Duckor and Holmberg have given us a roadmap to deepen feedback with concrete tools to deepen assessment for learning in our district. The introduction of progress guides to our teachers’ classroom assessment repertoire led to a shift in a group of educators, immediately appearing in math and science classrooms of participating teachers. These guides opened up new possibilities for self and peer-led assessments; we’d been waiting to provide that purposeful feedback that moves student learning forward. The teachers, staff, and instructional coaches jumped on board. Practical and innovative, this book is different. It is equity in action for all our kids."

Elida MacArthur
Superintendent, Mount Pleasant Elementary School District

"This impressive, scholarly book is destined to become a seminal text on formative feedback, primarily because it puts myriad feedback practices at the epicenter of student achievement in a systematic way. In ten clearly written chapters, the authors present feedback practices that are based on contemporary research as well as classroom constraints and realities, with an emphasis on how feedback connects with ambitious teaching and equity. It is unique in providing an in-depth, comprehensive, engaging, and research-based treatment of all aspects of providing formative feedback that enhances student learning, including spoken, nonverbal, written, peer-based, individual, and small-group feedback. Notably, each chapter contains numerous learning aides, including teacher reflections and quotes, videos, author insights, guiding questions, examples, templates, and chapter recaps that will enhance practitioner applications to unique contexts."

James McMillan
Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

"Every part of this book points at the purpose of public investment in education in any democracy. Feedback is not a luxury or afterthought. It must be practiced in every classroom and experienced in our schools. The power of formative feedback in the classroom—by all and with all—is on display in Duckor and Holmberg’s work. This timely book focuses on the habits of feedback that true democracy—with a small d—requires of us all!"

Deborah Meier
Founder, Central Park East Schools, NYC

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