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Using Student Feedback

Using Student Feedback

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will learn how to use student feedback to improve your instruction.

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Video Transcription

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we will be covering the topic using student feedback. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives.

And together, we'll use the following two questions to guide our learning in this video lesson. What is the importance of student feedback for us as teachers? And how can we obtain and use this feedback?

Let's start by talking about feedback. This is such an important part of so many processes, especially in teaching. As a teacher, you receive feedback often. It's essential to your role. We get this feedback from administrators, peers, and from parents.

One group in particular that can offer us some of the best and most effective feedback is our students. The feedback that they give us as teachers is invaluable. It's important however to use this feedback, especially the ideas that your students have given you.

By using their feedback and making changes to better their learning environment or process, you instill a sense of trust in your students. They trust that you care enough to listen. Making improvements or changes, big or small, to your instruction based on the feedback that you receive from students can make a huge difference in their learning.

Let's work through some different suggestions on how you can use student feedback. Getting written feedback is extremely important. I personally love to use index cards in my classroom. And I use them for many things. But you can have students write things that went well about the lesson or unit, maybe what didn't go well, and changes that could be made to help them learn better. You might try having the feedback be anonymous, so you're more likely to receive honest feedback, depending on your group of students.

You can also use focus groups or individual interviews. While these could really be used at any age, younger students that aren't quite ready to get all of their ideas into writing benefit the most from these. Using interviews might allow you to get more powerful and meaningful information. You could use guided questions, or maybe just give them an open-ended question like, what would you change? This information will help you choose the right learning experiences for your students, ones that are engaging and motivating for your group of students.

You can use plus, minus, delta. This is an opportunity for students to identify what is working, what is not working, and opportunities for change or improvement. It's quick and easy, and a format that students can use over and over again.

Using consensograms is another great tool for feedback. We can gauge students' knowledge about a topic, comfort level with content that has been taught, or maybe feelings about content or processes, anonymously, in a risk-free free environment. You could ask a question about how strong your students' feel their knowledge is about a lesson, for example, maybe adding fractions with unlike denominators.

Students would then take a sticky note or other graphing material and rate their comfort level on the chart. It's also a hands-on. And it's visual. So can be a really fun way to get feedback.

Another option for student feedback is using an issue bin. Students can record notes about ideas, questions, or issues that they would like addressed in the future. Often we see issue bins used during instruction. If students have questions or ideas that they want to share, they can write them down to address later without interrupting the lesson.

You could use a class chart or an individual way of recording these important ideas. Maybe students would use brackets sheets, where half a sheet of paper would be a bracket drawn on it. And they could bracket their ideas and questions while they're engaging in the learning activity.

One thing that's really important to keep in mind is that you must continue to build trust in your students by actually going back and addressing these ideas. They can be really easy to put off or forget about. But in doing this, you risk losing that trust, and in turn, losing that really valuable feedback from your students. So make sure you use these.

Let's talk about some tips for you teachers. First, obtain feedback from your students often. And do it consistently. This allows you to become aware of the needs or measure the climate of your classroom at all times. This of course can help you determine ways to improve your own instruction.

Also, be sure to only ask about things that students can really judge. It's not appropriate to ask students questions that they cannot be the best judge of. It's also extremely important to reflect on the feedback that you receive. You can use questions like, if you are being graded by your students, what grade would you deserve?

Or how or what can you change to improve learning for your students? Or maybe, how will you show your students that you are using their feedback? This last one would imply that you're actually taking their ideas and feedback seriously and implementing some of their suggestions.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the following two questions. What is the importance of student feedback for us as teachers? And how can we obtain and use this feedback?

Today we dove into the importance of obtaining feedback from your students. Not only are you able to make improvements to your own teaching, but this gives you the ability to gain students' trust and build your teacher-student relationships. When you gather and use feedback from your students, you give them a voice, which is so important. We also walked through several tools that you can use to get feedback, tools like the consensogram, written and verbal feedback, issue bins, and using a plus, minus, delta.

Now, that you're more familiar with these ideas and concepts, let's reflect. Do you currently gather student feedback? If so, how can you improve your methods for gathering feedback? If not, what strategies will you use, and why?

Thanks for joining me today and discussing the lesson, Using Student Feedback. I hope you found value in this video lesson. And I hope you're able to use these ideas about student feedback and the importance of it in your own teaching.

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on “Using Student Feedback”


(00:00- 00:25) Introduction

(00:26- 01:20) Obtaining and Using Student Feedback

(01:21- 02:21) Tools for Feedback: Written and Group

(02:22- 04:15) Tools for Feedback: Plus-Minus-Delta, Consensogram, Issue Bins

(04:16- 04:47) Tips for Teachers  

(04:48- 05:16) Reflection on Feedback

(05:17- 05:59) Recap

(06:00- 06:45) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Teaching Effectiveness Program (TEP): Using Student Feedback

This post provides advice on using student feedback to improve instruction. Scroll to the bottom of the post for tools that can help you collect and use student feedback to guide your instructional practices.

Teachers for the 21st Century: Using Evaluation to Improve Teaching 

This is a research based report that includes strategies to collect, analyze, and use student feedback and evaluation data to improve instruction.