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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


"Providing students with effective feedback is an important aspect of teaching, as it can significantly contribute to their learning and, ultimately, their achievement. By providing frequent, constructive, and instructive feedback to students, teachers can begin to bridge the gap between a student’s current state and the desired student outcomes. Duckor and Holmberg’s Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities provides a well-conceived and accessible framework for teachers, instructional coaches, and professional developers for considering how to better incorporate student feedback on a more consistent basis throughout the learning cycle. The text will be a useful resource for all educators."

Tonya R. Moon
Professor and Director of Education and Human Development Institutes on Academic Diversity, University of Virginia

"It is no secret that improving student learning requires deep collaboration and problem solving, which requires specific purpose-driven feedback guided by the desire to improve. Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom provides educators a road map with specific processes and structures that enhance effective feedback for the purposes of improving learning goals that are supported by rich learning tasks.<"

Matt Navo
Executive Director, California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)

"Acclaimed African American educator and civil rights activist who was a national advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mary McCloud Bethune, had a motto for school: Enter to learn, depart to serve. Highly skilled, equity-minded teachers are vital to the success of all students and the future of our country. To reach every child, we need teachers who see formative feedback as one of the core missions of school. Duckor and Holmberg’s latest book, Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom equips the reader with a dynamic repertoire of teacher moves and strategies necessary to serve students effectively so that they will not only learn but thrive. It’s something the profession has needed for a long time and it’s well worth the read."

Jacquelyn Ollison
Co-Director, California Teacher Residency Lab

"Duckor and Holmberg’s newest book lays out an important challenge for policymakers; one that is worth taking up as we rethink systems of support to address inequity. They start with the subtle yet obvious idea: Feedback for our students is the foundation of public education in a democracy. Then with the hard-earned wisdom of practice, they show how accessible this vision is. State accountability frameworks and support systems need to find room for the formative feedback framework presented here; this is our future. In the meantime, teachers, staff, and administrative leaders can use this book to initiate change for how students and educators experience education today."

Glen Price
Founder, GPG, Former Chief Deputy Superintendent, California Department of Education

"In China, we have a long history with the concept of feedback. Every master and apprentice relied on feedback to communicate. Sadly, in modern Chinese culture, “face is bigger than sky;” therefore, too often, it is not as easy to receive sincere and constructive feedback. We refrain from giving honest feedback not because we don’t want to but because we don’t know how. That’s why I was so excited when I found out that Duckor and Holmberg are putting together a book on such a crucial but neglected topic. With innovative insights and practical tips like this, I hope feedback in China may evolve to become the upgrade and substitute of “traditional” assessment, as it is more effective and more useful to the apprentice, especially in student-centered and project-based learning environments."

Terry Qian

"New teachers want resources to help them build relationships with children and young people—from day one. Advice and support from expert educators can help them grow their capacity to connect their passion for subject matter with good feedback practices to support student learning. Brent and Carrie’s latest book, Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom, is a remarkable resource for our new teachers and their mentors. Every chapter captures a dimension of formative feedback in the classroom and provides strategies to use and reflect upon. Rooted in research on what works, the book provides a blueprint for building teacher capacity to lead equitable and equity-focused classrooms and schools. It empowers all of us who support the teaching profession to envision what a focus on growth, care, and connection with our students truly means. Teachers are deeply respected in these pages and all are invited to improve continuously."

Mary Vixie Sandy
Executive Director, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

"This is a major piece of work on feedback, one that is teacher-friendly and caring. Teachers and teacher educators will have a major source of information on formative feedback in all its variations at their fingertips."

Rich Shavelson
Professor Emeritus and Former Dean, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

"In their latest book, Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom, Duckor and Holmberg have done a beautiful job of attending to the relational and collaborative aspects of meaningful feedback. Once again, ambitious teaching is seamlessly interwoven with research-based formative assessment strategies. By emphasizing a focus on long-cycle projects, rich tasks, and other meaningful assignments—those that offer opportunities for deeper feedback exchanges in the classroom—they successfully demonstrate why feedback is what makes the difference in supporting and improving student learning. I appreciate that the book offers practical prompts, tools, and routines that help students internalize criteria for quality work and supports them in developing agency as they engage with teachers and peers to learn and improve. There are lots of examples that bring to life research on what makes feedback essential to deeper learning, and it is clear these authors speak from hard-won experience in assessment reform."

Lorrie A. Shepard
Distinguished Professor, Former Dean, School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder

"Like a chocolate lava cake, this book is rich with new insights and can be consumed slowly, but in the end, you’ll be fully satisfied with a new perspective on feedback. Duckor and Holmberg have done a great job making their formative feedback framework accessible to a wide range of readers, but most importantly, it is written with teachers in mind. I enjoyed the logical array of the chapters, each one containing advance organizers, periodic calls for self-reflection, practical examples provided by real teachers, and takeaways at the end. As noted in the opening, it is “formative feedback that matters most to continuous improvement.” Duckor and Holmberg’s book has delivered a recipe to help students and teachers achieve this goal in today’s classrooms."

Valerie Shute
Professor Emerita, Florida State University

"Feedback for Continuous Improvement in the Classroom: New Perspectives, Practices, and Possibilities is the perfect book for educators at all levels who want to be absolutely current with the research, thinking, and practice on instructional feedback. Duckor and Holmberg present readers with a thorough and accessible introduction to the field and bring them right up to the minute on current thinking in this rapidly evolving and increasingly complex field. It would be great as a text for teacher education or individual chapters could be “starters” for in-service workshops. My feedback is simple: Congratulations on an excellent job!"

Jeffrey K. Smith
Former Dean, College of Education, Otago University, New Zealand

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