At KIST, we conduct an annual student survey to assess classroom climate. Students complete the survey electronically and anonymously by evaluating statements about me and the class as ‘usually’, ‘sometimes’, or ‘no’. The resulting data is later shared with teachers. It’s an informative method of receiving feedback which can be used to refine approaches teaching.
Overall, my survey results were very positive. To statements which I would consider critical, like ‘My teacher cares about me.’ and ‘My teacher shows respect to all students.’
One question which I find very useful for evaluating my differentiation strategies is ‘I am able to do the work given to me.’
An 81% ‘usually’ and 0% ‘no’ outcome shows that my ongoing formative assessment cycle assures that every student is both challenged and capable of success.
One surprise was an unexpectedly positive response to ‘My teacher allows me to demonstrate my understanding in various ways.’
Through the first half of the school year, providing multiple pathways to understanding and accepting diverse assessment artifacts have been areas I feel I have neglected. However, my students seem to think otherwise, so perhaps what I have been doing has been satisfying for them.
The first disturbing result in the student survey was to the statement ‘Students are respectful to each other in my class.’
The majority of students responded ‘sometimes’, indicating that I could be doing more to foster respect in my class. Fortunately, they don’t seem to think that I lack respect.
My biggest disappointment is the only 62% ‘usually’ response for ‘My teacher teaches about and demonstrates the Learner Profile attributes.’
Planning and executing IB Primary Years Program units of inquiry has been my greatest frustration this year as I adapt to a new teaching environment. In the past, I have been very careful to explicitly teach the elements of the PYP embedded within units of inquiry. Thus far in this school year, such careful planning and execution simply hasn’t happened.
Fortunately, my class is in the formative stages of a new unit so it’s a perfect time to bring IB Learner Profile attributes back to the front. To get started, I’ll access another data source, our Learner Profile reflections, by looking at the analytics.
This data visualization reveals that at this time, according to their self assessments, Caring is my students’ least developed Learner Profile attribute. This evidence also supports their feeling that they are not respectful to each other in class.
By making Caring a focal point in our next unit of inquiry, these issues may be addressed.
The statement ‘I feel free to ask and answer questions.’ is the most perplexing to me.
Contrasting that with a more favorable response to ‘My teacher gives me help when I need it.’ suggest some confusion.
In general, school has traditionally been a place where teachers have answers to students’ questions. While that is a culture that I reject, it doesn’t mean my students have not grow up with that mindset.
As in Ted Meyer’s TED talk, Math class needs a makeover, I aim to promote ingenuity and inquiry by being ‘less helpful’. Students constantly ask me questions that could researched in a book, on the Internet, or by asking their peers. For example, I almost never answer spelling questions for students.
I also avoid the traditional hand raising routine that most classrooms follow, preferring to call for responses randomly or in an open forum setting.
So it’s little surprise that many only ‘sometimes’ feel free to ask questions since they are likely still processing the cognitive dissonance of a new culture of ‘less helpful’ classroom participation.
This is an interesting exercise, although doing it any more than once per year would be too much. I can also see how it might be difficult to compare results year to year, as the perspectives of different classes can vary so widely.
I am happy to take away some actionable data and look forward to seeing what results it might lead to.