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End-of-Course Surveys: Using Feedback to Improve Instruction

Teacher Life Teaching Ideas

Someone once said that “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions,” and I fully agree. (Don't tell Wheaties!) That’s why I end every school year with end-of-course surveys, where students can give me detailed feedback.

I create a short survey in Google Classroom, asking students to do the following:

  1. Rank each unit with a score of 1 to 5.
  2. Rank each major activity with a score of 1 to 5.
  3. Give me feedback on what they liked about the class overall.
  4. Give me feedback on what they didn’t like about the class overall.
  5. Tell me something they felt like they learned over the course of the year.
  6. Tell me something they wish they would have learned a bit more about.

I love poring over these results (maybe a little too much)! Which story did my students enjoy most? Which project most engaged my students? Their answers are often surprising. Then I use that information as I plan out my next year. Maybe I want to put a little extra effort into teaching a certain concept the next year. Maybe I re-order the units to make them more appealing. And sometimes I decide to let a unit go.

Of course, something I always ask is whether or not they feel like Reader’s Theater script-stories are motivational, engaging, and instructive. The answers to these questions are always overwhelmingly positive. 

Before you implement this into your own classroom, here are some tips:

  1. Realize why you want feedback. You want feedback to improve your teaching. Students are our audience, and we need to know what works and what doesn’t. Feedback gives us that insight.
  2. Before you ask for feedback, make sure you’re prepared to hear it. More often than not, students are brutally honest. The unit you love may not be the one your students love. (It hurts! I know!)
  3. Make the feedback anonymous. If you want students to give you unfiltered feedback, the survey probably needs to be anonymous. You can always give them the option to type in their name. Some will choose to. Others will not.
  4. Consider the source, and use good judgment before you change anything. If I listened to every time a student gave me the comment, “Write fewer papers,” I wouldn’t be much of an English teacher now would I?
  5. Always leave a spot for free commenting. This is a chance for students to give you any feedback they deem important. Sometimes they even take a moment to say, “Thank you!”
  6. Overall, most students will see this feedback process as a sign of respect and will respond respectfully. However, be prepared for some not to. Overall, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

As your school year wraps up, I hope you consider doing an end-of-course survey. If you would like to modify the survey I use, you can make a copy of it using Google Drive by clicking here:

Do you think this is a strategy you will use? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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