Exploring Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Feedback Practices



Bontrager, Bailey J

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Feedback has long been viewed as an important component in classrooms where teachers and students engage in learning activities. Early research into the influence of feedback on mathematics achievement demonstrated that students performed better when given feedback that included specific information that identified errors and detailed why an answer is correct, as opposed to simply indicating an answer is correct or incorrect. Since these early studies, researchers have continued to investigate the characteristics that make feedback most effective in mathematics classrooms. Despite the availability of literature and evidence that teachers can be taught how to implement effective feedback practices, there is evidence that “traditional” feedback practices continue to be used in mathematics classrooms. One reason for the continued use of traditional feedback strategies in mathematics classrooms could be the lack of guidance and effective training of these particular practices. The present study explores the processes middle school mathematics teachers’ experience while determining feedback for students. The study revealed feedback is a multifaceted process that middle school mathematics teachers are concerned with on a regular basis. Several themes and a theoretical construct were developed that speak to specifics regarding what teachers consider and how they determine feedback for students. Common methods of communication and delivery of feedback were identified as well. Educational implications were discussed regarding teacher preparation programs and professional development to support teachers’ learning effective feedback strategies.



Instructional practices, Mathematics education, Feedback, Formative assessment