For the second year running, I gave my students an end-year survey about my class (in the style of Larry Ferlazzo) with the promise that their responses would be anonymous and publicly shared here. You can see the survey here, and read last year’s post here.
Overall, I loved to read what my students wrote about our class. We spent some time during the year talking about the four kinds of feedback, and came to the understanding that negative specific feedback is the type that helps us improve the most. Their responses showed that they see the value of this sort of feedback.
Here are my five biggest take-aways from the survey results:
- My students loved the class. When I asked them to grade me as a teacher, 98% gave me an A or a B. When asked to explain their marks, they responded with answers like “because overall he was a fun teacher and cool teacher and serious when he had to be” or “because I can tell he really made an effort.”
- Student say that they value good grades over being with their friends. When asked whether they would rather earn a B and be in a class with their friends over get an A and not be in the same class as their friends, almost 90% chose the higher grade. I don’t know if I actually believe that they would make this choice, but it is telling that they want me to think that they would.
- These students view grades as feedback about their learning. This is the best sign that my students have learned the “big picture” lessons that I consider so important. As often as I talk about feedback and the purpose of grades with them, it’s probably impossible for them to feel any other way. But I still feel gratified that my work with them made a difference.
- My students are split about how they would like to receive feedback about learning. When asked how they would prefer to receive grades on their report card, about one-fifth want the current system that compiles mastery and behavior into one grade, while another fifth would prefer a face-to-face meeting to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Another one-fifth of them would prefer the system that I prefer, separating work habits and content mastery. Most surprising to me (and actionable to some extent), is that almost 40% of respondents would like a paragraph that explains their strengths and weaknesses. That is something that I can (and will) do in the near future.
- Surprisingly, my students would rather do well on the End-of-Grade standardized test than have more hands-on activities in class. Despite the fact that they seem to see the value of meaningful and relevant instruction, my students have been conditioned to think that standardized tests are super important. They want to succeed on them more than they want to learn the skills necessary to be responsible citizens. And that is very frustrating.
What do these data make you think? What would you change? Let me know in the comments.