End-Of-Year Survey

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Jun
  • 08
  • 2007

Are you giving one to your students? What are you asking them? Have you ever given one? Why did you start/stop giving end-of-year surveys? Do you see any value in them? Have they ever helped you? Should this be done at the semester instead of end of the year?

Student opinion should have something to do with teacher evaluation. Not necessarily used to hire or fire a teacher (as teacher rating Web sites have shamefully been used in the past), but I wish student opinions mattered in some way. That one-hour-once-every-two-years administrator evaluation thing is garbage, yet it carries far more weight than the observations of those who see a teacher every single day. And I did a project review on the last one, so I’ll have gone 4 years without anyone in my room to observe me.

I just heard of a kid whose first semester F was averaged into her second semester D. That means that she failed both semesters, even though she actually passed one of them. That’s illegal, but the student doesn’t feel like she can do anything without facing the wrath of the teacher. What’s worse is that this teacher is likely doing this to all 150 students seen in a day. Literally, that’s criminal. A certain post of mine is generating all kinds of other horror stories.

Seniors filled out a survey on their last day (this past Wednesday). I made the mistake of sitting in the room as they filled them out, though the crate they dropped them into was far removed from my desk. With my juniors, I’ll be sure to leave the room for a bit. Once I go through them all, I’ll put together the results in a post so I have some direction for how to improve next year. The other 3 of you reading this can help keep me honest as the year goes on and as I talk up my plans this summer.

In case you want to do the same with your kids, here’s the Word document. Remember to tell them not to put their name on this. I was even thinking of turning this into a Web form so they could type it up, but I didn’t have enough time for my seniors. Maybe I’ll do it for my juniors. That might seem more anonymous to them and give me a more honest response. Feel free to give me tips on how this can be a more useful survey next year. It’s been easily 4 years since I’ve done this. Think I need to change the wording on any of these? Am I wasting everyone’s time?


1. Laurie says:

[6/9/2007 - 10:23 am]

I always ask for some sort of feedback like this. I also ask a student in the class to collect them and seal them in an envelope for me to read with the explanation that I promise to not read them before I am done posting grades.

I think that starting a question with when assumes that there was a time that you were unreasonable. It seems like a leading question.

I want to know what worked for them and what didn’t in regards to assignments, class procedures, the literature we read, how I explained assignments, etc. I also ask a question similar to your last one.

And I have been surprised by the answers…they actually liked Antigone and Lord of the Flies – as long as we read most of it out loud together.

Last year they wished that we read more (figures the year I dropped Free Read Journals) Ouch! Well those journals were back this year, can’t wait to see what these students have to say.

2. Walter says:

[6/9/2007 - 11:27 am]

Why wait until the end of the year? Feedback like this seems to be something we crave as educators. I often use this type of reflective practice at the end of a unit or even with time left after an exam.

I have asked something similar including:

Compare this course with another you have taken here at QHST? How were the teaching styles similar of different?

3. Mary Ann says:

[6/10/2007 - 5:39 am]

I did it this year with 6th graders. I explained how they will be asked to evaluate college professors and sometimes other teachers between now and then. I told them they could sign them or not, but I would not read them until this summer. I asked that they give constructive criticism. “You suck as a teacher” or “you are a wonderful teacher” don’t help me as much as I wish we had 4 warm up questions rather than 3 or something similar. And I told them not to bother complaining about homework (they get 10 problems a night. I am already rethinking this, but I know they all hate homework.)

1. What did I do well this year?
2. What did I not do well this year?
3. What should I keep for next year?
4. What should I change?
5. Any other comments?
Results: A few were not helpful at all (in the “you suck” scheme of things. Half said I gave too much homework. But I learned a lot about the way they see my teaching. My brightest student said I didn’t challenge her enough. My weakest student said I wasn’t hard enough on him.

4. Todd says:

[6/10/2007 - 9:12 am]

Laurie, good point about starting a question with “when.” When did you stop stealing? Yeah, that’s leading and there’s no positive answer to that. I’ll change this for my juniors. Interesting what they like and what they don’t. A group of kids, who I thought hated everything I did, ended up really enjoying the blog/reading assignment all year.

Walter, how can we get honest feedback when students know they have to face that teacher for another 19 weeks? I’m just not sure that the kids will be as honest than they are at the end of the year, the end of their senior year in particular. Are you able to see any different kind of criticism at the end of the year than you see during the year? And the comparison question you suggest doesn’t get at whether or not your teaching was effective. That comparison, how does that help you?

Mary Ann, constructive criticism is certainly the goal. The other is worthless. I hesitate to tell the kids not to bother complaining about something. If the teacher essentially says, “I don’t care about your feedback in this particular area,” that could too easily be interpreted as “I don’t care about your feedback.” I get why you would tell them such a thing, but do you find that it stymies honest responses to your class?

5. Karisti says:

[6/16/2007 - 3:23 pm]

As part of my evaluation this year my principal did an online 360 survey with my students. I was able to pick the questions – and he chose some as well. The principal came in while they did the survey (I stepped out of the room.). I really liked it because the kids did an excellent job of giving constructive feedback. Plus, since it is online it is truly anonymous.

I was able to use the feedback to reflect on my own practice – and do some follow up questions with my students. I found it to be very useful – probably one of the most substantial evaluations in my 12 years of teaching.

6. dy/dan » Blog Archive » The Audit II says:

[7/7/2007 - 9:01 am]

[…] The similarly themed adventures from blogroll-buddy Todd Seal and alma-mater-educator Coach Brown. […]