There are many telltale signs that the end of the year has arrived. All teachers know these signs, and even parents have their own set of school struggles. This post by Jen Hatmaker pretty much sums up the craziness that the end of the year brings. However, there is one more thing that might just make a teacher lose his/her mind: the crazy schedules. There are testing days, when you see one class five times and then don’t see another. Or maybe it is the end of the day after a field trip. Today, I am sharing a valuable idea for making the most of that time, using student surveys at the end of the year. Also, there is a little bonus at the end, so keep reading.
END-OF-THE-YEAR STUDENT SURVEYS
WHAT IS A STUDENT SURVEY?
A student survey is a great tool to get students thinking about the year and to help you to improve your craft. They can be as in-depth as you would like, but I would suggest keeping them decently quick with a good variety of free response, check boxes, and ranking scales.
STUDENT SURVEYS SOUND INTIMIDATING
I loved doing end-of-the-year surveys with my students because it provided some great insight and helped me to reflect on the year! Now, it may be a little out of your comfort zone to ask for feedback about your class and your teaching, so let me encourage you. First of all, you are a great teacher! I know this because in your spare time you are reading a teacher blog. 🙂 Secondly, remember that you are the one crafting the questions. So, think about how you word them and what exactly you want to learn from the response.
For example, you could ask, “What was your favorite part of this class?” If you leave it open, you may get a few responses that say “nothing” (at least, I know a handful of middle school students who might say that). But likely, you will get better responses if you provide a few selections for students to choose from and then add an “other” blank. You could also reframe the question to, “What is one thing you learned in this class that you can carry into next year?”
SUGGESTIONS FOR QUESTIONS
Before you write your questions, really think about what you want to accomplish with the responses. Do you want to improve your classroom management? Do you want to get a feel for the classroom community aspect of school? Do you want to rework your lessons and need some suggestions for the fall?
Here are a few general suggestions:
- How has your confidence in _________ (subject) improved this year?
- What lesson/project/activity did you most enjoy? Why?
- What lesson/project/activity was the most difficult for you? Why?
- What is one piece of advice that you would share with a student who is entering this class next year?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much did you enjoy learning about…?
- Explain a time in class in which you were able to overcome a struggle.
- What is something that you would change about our class?
- What is one thing in class that helped you to be more successful?
- What is one thing in class that made it difficult for you to learn?
- Did you feel as though I had high expectations of you?
MAKE IT DIGITAL
Now, I know that it is May and in the teaching economy, a ream of paper is now worth its weight in gold. So, don’t let the number of copies be the thing that keeps you from completing a survey with your students. A simple Google Form with the questions can be set up in a matter of 10 minutes. It will dump all of your responses into a Google Sheet, which makes it easy to review and reflect upon.
Give it a try. Live dangerously. 🙂