Reflection: Student Feedback Test Solution Project (#5 of 5) - Section 4: Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?


In the spirit of continuous improvement in my craft, I strive to collect, analyze, and (if possible) make use of student feedback. In reality, they are the most frequent sets of eyes in the classroom and I value their perspectives. The challenge lies in creating clearly articulated questions, selecting key students to look more deeply into, and evaluating the merits of what is said and perhaps even unsaid!

I chose three students to look at in particular; one student who typically exceeds standard (Student A), one consistently meeting standard (Student B), and one who sometimes meets standard (Student C). To see the trends in their responses to my four questions, I noted them below; numbers in parentheses, from Student A, B, and C respectively.

Student A Project Feedback

Student B Project Feedback

Student C Project Feedback

Now, how to make sense of these remarks?

Student Feedback Questions

1. I feel that our classroom culture encourages students to be engaged through
student choice, different learning styles, and a wide variety of teaching strategies. (4, 4, 3)

Based on this feedback, students report that they, too, find class to be diverse and appealing to different kinds of learners. I truly believe that boredom is a killer to student affect and motivation. One way I try to quell this is through a mix of well-researched and thoughtful strategies; ones that I feel I have sufficiently mastered.

2. I feel that our classroom culture values curiosity and a desire to understand the
world through scientific exploration. (4, 3, 4)

Like the first question, I wanted to see if students agreed that, through my instructional approach, I was hitting a key teaching challenge ("How can I develop a classroom culture that encourages student engagement, curiosity, and a desire to understand the world through scientific exploration?"). Quite often, if I provide a well conceived learning task with requisite scaffolds that is open-ended and calls for a student's imagination, I am far more pleasantly surprised with the outcome than not. In this regard, I trust that students are talented in certain respects that, when prompted to show them off, cool things happen. I want my students to feel that their contributions do matter and that there is always a way to combine meaningful problems and questions, with problems solved with ingenuity and creativity. Remember, many 21st century jobs have not yet been created so let's help develop good problem solving skills and refined imaginations!

3. I feel that I am asked to perform complex learning tasks. (5, 2, 3)

To be quite honest, this data set perplexed me. There is the greatest range of numerical feedback from the four prompts and it seems to me that there was complexity through and through. Here are some possible interpretations.

a. The students are just so well trained (from a school system perspective) that what they encounter in my class seems simple.

b. They didn't properly mark the number intended. A clerical mistake.

c. The phrasing of the question was not clear to the student or not specifically rooted in this particular project.

Having looked through the narrative feedback, none of the students included any specific things they felt needed to be improved upon. Student B wrote, "I can’t think of any improvements for Mr. Smith. I think all the improvements would be on the student project." This of course could mean that the project was not complex and she preferred it that way!

4. I feel that I have been supported well by my teacher throughout this project. For
example, the G.R.A.S.P. PPT, SMART goal daily tracker, PQP Peer Evaluation, time to
work, and help from my team and teacher has been useful. (5, 3, 3)

In this final prompt, students report that, at least, the supports were not useless (3) and, for one, highly supportive (5).

Despite marking a "3", Student B wrote, "I like how we worked with our team to make this project and the length of time we had to complete this; the time spam (sic) left room to have fun with this and not being stressed out about the fast approaching due date."

Also, Student C wrote, "To make my slide better for this project the thing where we talked with another group was very helpful because we got to see each other’s work and give each other feedback on it." She also marked "3" neutral. 

In sum, I think both numerical and narrative feedback are worthwhile but I tend to trust narrative a bit better, not to mention that students are not trained instructors therefore there are valuable strategies and carefully selected choices we make that are not on the "kid radar". To base my self-assessment solely on student feedback would be unwise and incomplete.

  Student Feedback: Turning the Tables: What value might student feedback provide?
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Test Solution Project (#5 of 5)

Unit 7: 7) Ecology ("Population Interactions")
Lesson 11 of 16

Objective: Students will design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

Big Idea: Natural resources are precious and finite. It is important for students to be aware of environmental issues in their own backyard and imagine feasible solutions to problems that threaten them.

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