As educators, we may employ perceptive surveys to ask parents, staff, and our community about their feeling about our schools. But, how often do we actually ask our “real” customers, our students?
Last year, researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Panorama Education developed a valid and reliable survey for students to provide feedback about teaching and learning in classrooms. The survey is FREE and open-sourced, is customizable, and can be employed at the classroom or school level. There are two surveys, one for students in grade 3-5 and the other in grades 6-12. The survey if completely employed measures five classroom level scales with the option of gathering feedback on four supplemental scales. Click the link to access the survey here: Panorama Student Survey
The survey measures these scales:
● Pedagogical Effectiveness- This scale measures students’ perceptions of a teacher’s instructional methods and delivery of content. Example Question: How clearly does this teacher present the information that you need to learn?
● Classroom Environment- This scale measures students’ perceptions of the overall classroom climate including the classroom’s physical, social and psychological environment. Example Question: How often do students behave well in this class?
● Expectations and Rigor- This scale measures students’ perceptions of the extent to which their teacher holds them to high expectations around their effort, understanding, persistence, and performance in their class. Example Question: How much does this teacher encourage you to do your best?
● Student Engagement- This scale measures students’ perceptions of their attention to and investment in what goes on in the classroom. Example Question: In this class, how much do you participate?
● Supportive Relationships- This scale measures students’ perceptions of a teacher’s care and support for their personal development and well-being beyond the classroom. Example Question: How interested is this teacher in what you do outside of class?
The four supplemental scales measure these perceptions:
● Sense of Belonging- This scale measures the extent to which students feel that they are valued members of their school’s community. Example Question: How connected do you feel to the adults at your school?
● Interest in Subject- This scale measures how interesting, important, and useful a student considers a specific subject. Example Question: How often do you use ideas from [SUBJECT] class in your daily life?
● Grit- This scale measures a student's ability to persevere through setbacks to achieve important long-term goals. Example Question: If you fail to reach an important goal, how likely are you to try again?
● Learning Strategies- This scale measures the extent to which students deliberately use strategies to actively manage their own learning process. Example Question: Before you start working on your schoolwork, how often do you think about the best way to approach the work?
A couple of summers ago at the MEMSPA Summer Leadership Institute, we had the opportunity to spend a day with David Langford. He told us about how inviting feedback from his students totally changed the way that he taught and changed engagement and achievement for students by re-creating the way teaching and learning was employed.
So how does a principal employ a survey like this in his or her school? In this current accountability era, how does one not tie this to evaluation and make it feel like students are rating a teacher? There are many factors to consider before employing a survey like this.
Is the culture ready? Although the developers suggest that the survey could be used for evaluation purposes, it would be best to have developed a culture of trust that does not use the information for evaluation purposes, but to provide information and feedback for the teacher or group of teachers. A principal leader may start by having a small group of teachers try out the survey on a voluntary basis or employ the survey school wide which would provide data as a collective entity to study and determine.
I can’t believe I ate the whole thing! The survey was designed to be broken up and delivered according to areas of priority and/or importance for the teacher/grade level team/school. Don’t give the whole thing to all students, but break up the survey and collect information that is pertinent and important to your school and to what you and your teachers are interested in collecting data about.
What will you do about the information collected? Whenever we collect information or perceptive data we need to do something about it! How will you let students know about the information collected? How will you communicate the collection of the data to other teachers in the school? What actions will be taken after evaluating the feedback?
Walk the walk and talk the talk! Consider employing a perceptive survey to students that include questions pertinent to your work. Are you visible, supportive, a problem-solver, keep them safe, etc. Often when we lead the way, model how to seek and receive feedback and then change or confirm behaviors according to the data, it makes it easier for our faculty and staff to try it out themselves.
Instead of Tickets In and Tickets Out for us to find out what students have learned or are bringing to the learning before class, what if we asked our customers how much they learned in class from the teacher? How well behaved were the students in class? How much does this teacher care about me as a learner in and outside of school? How much participation in the learning is allowed in this teacher’s class? The information provided can be powerful and cause a learning and teaching revelation! Are YOU listening to your customers?