What Did My Students Think Of This Year? (2017-18 Edition)

As I prepare to start a new year of school (#yearroundschools), it’s time again to look back on the year that has just ended. Every year I follow in the footsteps of one of my edu-idols, Larry Ferlazzo, surveying my students about the things that worked and didn’t. I promise them that the results will be anonymous and public, posting about the responses in this space to ensure that I can’t hide from them.

The questions haven’t changed much over the past three years because they give me TONS of useful feedback. You can find the raw results here (filtered for student privacy and inappropriate language), and the posts from previous years here and here. Here are the four biggest takeways from this year:

1. Fewer of my students report that they enjoyed my class most of the time. Dropping from 87% in 2016-2017 to 80% in 2017-2018, this metric tells me that efforts to engage and motivate my students can use some more work.

2. This group of students valued their friendships more than grades in a bigger way than previous classes. Compared to 2017 (80%), much fewer of my 2018 surveyed students stated that they would choose to earn an A without their friends in their class rather than earn a C with their friends.

3. This year’s students gave me a better grade than last year’s students did. More than 80% of this year’s students gave me a grade of an A for the year, which is significantly higher than last year.

4. Even more of my students than usual prefer a single vague grade. When asked whether they would like to get more detailed information about their performance in class, more of my students than any previous year (36.8%) chose instead to stick with a single mark that includes behavior, work habits, and mastery. This disappoints me, but it really points toward an systematic issue with the education system as it currently stands.

2 thoughts on “What Did My Students Think Of This Year? (2017-18 Edition)

  1. Hey Pal,

    I totally love that you do this survey every year. Are you willing to share the questions with me? I’d love to start doing the same thing.

    I also love a few of your specific observations because they ring true for me, too: Particularly the idea that kids still prefer a single grade than any other kind of feedback. That is TOTALLY a function of the structure of schools — and I don’t know how to fix it.

    My guess is that the key is more and more opportunities for feedback and fewer grades is the key. Kids have to see the difference over and over again in order to change their perspective. I’m just not sure how to break the stranglehold that grades have on schools — given that I often feel like I’m the only one interested in moving away from grades.

    Anyway — let’s get a beer sometime.



    1. Bill,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve sent you an invite to make a copy of the survey questions.

      I know you’re right about the system teaching kids to value grades, but that just inspires me to keep unshackling students from the burden of learning the way in this broken system. That’s the only sane choice, right?


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