At the end of each school year I give my students a survey. This survey gives students an opportunity to provide feedback about what worked for them and what did not work for them throughout the duration of the World History course that I teach. I have found, time and time again, that students give very helpful and insightful feedback when teachers allow them the opportunity to do so. The feedback that I have received at the end of each school year has helped me to improve upon class activities and assignments to better reach my students and meet their needs.
Typically I have run off copies of the survey for each student and students would complete the survey, anonymously, as their final assignment. There were a few issues using this method to survey students. For starters, some students did not feel completely comfortable being candid on the survey out of fear that I would recognize their handwriting. The second issue with administering the survey in this manner was collecting the results. I had to go through each survey, one by one, and make note of key comments or answers that would be helpful to me in planning the following school year. After identifying key comments/answers, I would then go back through the results and categorize them for easy reference later. This was an extremely inefficient and time consuming. I knew there had to be a better way.
At the end of this year, I was getting ready to run off copies of my student surveys when I happened to overhear one of my colleagues talking about Survey Monkey and I thought “Why hadn’t I thought of that myself!” For those of you that don’t know, Survey Monkey is an online survey website. You can create an account and access the website for free. Once you have created your account, you can create a survey and share the link with your students. I use Edmodo for my class website (you can find out more about Edmodo here).Since I already had Edmodo set up, sharing the survey link with my students was very simple. Once I shared the link to my survey on Edmodo, I let my students know that it was there and asked them to take a few minutes to complete the survey. I explained how the survey would help me and offered a few extra credit points to those that completed it. I found that my students were much more comfortable completing the survey online because it was completely anonymous. There is absolutely no way for me to figure out whose answers were whose.
As an added bonus, Survey Monkey analyzes the survey results automatically. Just like that, the problem of collecting and reviewing my student survey results was solved. All you have to do to see the feedback, nicely categorized, is log in to your account. The fact that accessing, reviewing, and analyzing the survey results was done for me by the website made giving the student survey that much more effective. Since I didn’t have to spend hours sifting through and analyzing the data myself, the trends in student comments were much easier to see, and in turn, to address for the coming year.
You can check out the survey I gave to my students using Survey Monkey here.
If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage you to give your students a survey about the class(es) you teach. Survey Monkey is a great tool to help you do so!