Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Survey Monkey!

I like to continually get feedback from my classes. One of the ways I do this is through the use of Survey Monkey. This is a free service that allows you to create 10 question online surveys and have people take them anonymously (there are much fancier options if you upgrade to a paid account, but that's not something I've found to be necessary). I ask for their feedback on the class rules, on my teaching, on activities we've completed, on what they would still like to learn, and then a place for comments in general.

The first time we do this is typically the last day of the first full week of school. The double bonus is that by taking them to the computer lab this early in the term I can quickly find out if there are any login/password issues and get those taken care of right away. Here's an example of the 1st week survey taken in Foods:

My apologies for the insanely small type - gotta love Ctrl +.

Note - I realize that #2 is kind of vague, but I actually get quite a bit of useful information from it. This helps me figure out their first impressions of me, if I've done a good job of introducing and explaining class procedures, and also gives me an idea of the subjects they would like to learn about in class - I try to work in their suggestions whenever possible.

They take surveys at the midterm and end of every quarter as well, which ask more specific questions about the goings-on of the classes. I've found it to be of enormous benefit.

While the online surveys are anonymous, I also require a signed form of feedback at the end of every quarter as well. The instructions are as follows:

Write a full one-page letter including the following:


Dear Mrs. C,

-Describe one thing you learned in this class during ___ quarter
-Describe your favorite thing we did in this class during ___ quarter
-Describe your least favorite thing we did in this class during ___ quarter
-Tell me one thing you want to learn about next quarter
-Finish the page: you may write about anything you wish as long as it is school


I used to just have them write this letter on their own paper, but since I like to keep them it became difficult to control the different sizes and torn pages. So, I now copy lined paper with the intructions on the back and hole-punch them so I can keep them all together in a binder to refer to in the future.

I get some really interesting feedback from these letters - not only do they tell me what they liked/didn't like, but they always include their reasons as well (even though it's not part of the requirements). My favorite is when they tell me they didn't like something, but then admit it's because they just don't like to work - at least they're honest.

One thing I would like to try next year is a feedback bulletin board. I saw it on a teacher's blog and it looks like a great idea - perhaps I'll post on it next September.

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