Saturday, January 31, 2009

Return of the Student Opinion of Teacher Survey

High school teachers in the college town of Ann Arbor were required to undergo anonymous student evaluation at the end of each semester back when I did my student teaching there. The Ann Arbor School District developed a generic Likert scale and open-ended questionnaire that allowed students to rate teacher performance. The front of the questionnaire was devoted to 24 Likert (five-point) scale performance assessments. The back was devoted to open-ended prompts.

Students were not to include their names on the surveys. Completed surveys were collected by a student in the class and delivered to the teacher's evaluating administrator before the teacher could see them. The teacher could not access the completed surveys until semester grades had been turned in.

I brought the form with me to Sacramento. San Juan Unified had no such instrument or program. I was too chicken to use it my first year. In retrospect, I have reason to believe the results would have been much better than I expected. Oh well.

I started using it my second year, 1987-88. I was knocked out by how kind the students were in their assessment of my performance. It might have helped that I was young and they could see that I really was trying. It didn't hurt that Rio's Class of '88 was a truly exceptional group. (I perceived it even then, but my perception was verified by more veteran teachers at the time.)

I continued to administer the survey until 2006. In the early years, I learned a thing or two. And I changed a thing or two about how I conducted the class. But after a while, the annual results started to merge into a certain sameness. My stock would rise or fall within a certain range. The comments--good and bad--changed little from year to year. I lost interest.

I revived the old form this year. To make it somewhat interesting and useful to me, I changed some of the questions.

Here is the survey instrument.

Here are my results. (The graphs will be meaningless without the instrument; the graphs don't show the text of the questions.)
1. Summary Graph by Period (Physics 1 only)
2. Summary Graph (Physics 1 and AP Physics 2)
3. The Data


dt said...

Dean, thanks for sharing this form! Plus your tie to Michigan...I got my start in Stevensville, MI, and they too required a teacher evaluation by students...perhaps it was a Michigan thing?

I enjoy reading the comments from my students as a way to reflect on my teaching. Your form as well as the one I currently use have a lot of elements focusing on the teacher interaction with the student.

Have you found a way to assess student reading comprehension (before assessments) and ways to use technology as a means of individualized instruction? These are two areas where my students are asking for more intervention.

Thanks for your posting!


Dean Baird said...

I'm not sure that I individualize instruction to the extent some would like me to. I teach about 150 students / day. So I try to get the material across in a variety of ways, hoping some ways will work better than others for each student.