Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers)

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I’ve found that receiving feedback from my students about the class and my teaching style has helped me become a better educator, and I’ve written several posts about it. I’ve also written extensively about it in my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work.

Today, the Boston Globe ran an article about how a similar process is going to be incorporated district-wide in Boston schools, School Committee OK’s student feedback on teachers.

That article got me thinking that readers might find it useful if I gathered all my related posts in one place.

I’d also love to hear from teachers who use similar formal feedback systems.

So, here are My Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers):

The Right (& Wrong) Ways To Get Student Feedback On Our Teaching

Results From Student Evaluation Of My Class And Me

Results From Student Evaluation Of My Class And Me (Part Two)

Results From My Year-Long U.S. History Tech Experiment

Mid-Year Results Of My “Experiment”

Student Evaluations Of Summer School Class

How Students Evaluated Me This Year — Part One

How Students Evaluated Me This Year — Part Two (Intermediate English Class)

How My Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated The Class And Me

What My Students Told Alice Mercer About Our TOK Class

How Students Evaluated Our Class & Me This Semester

How Intermediate English Students Evaluated Our Class This Past Semester

How My Ninth-Grade English Classes Evaluated Me This Year

Follow-Up To “How My Ninth-Grade English Classes Evaluated Me This Year”

How My U.S. History Students Evaluated Me This Semester

How My ESL Intermediate/Beginner Students Evaluated Our Class & Me This Semester

How My Theory Of Knowledge Class Evaluated Me This Semester

How Students Evaluated Me This Year

How My Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated Me This Semester — “We learned things that are different than normal classes”

How My ESL Class Evaluated Me This Semester

How My Ninth-Grade English Class Evaluated Me This Semester

How My Ninth-Grade English Class Evaluated Me This Year

How My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated Me This Year

It’s That Time Of Year Again: Here’s How My Ninth-Graders Evaluated The Class & Me

How My ELL Students Evaluated Me At The End Of First Semester

How My Students Evaluated Me This Year

SPECIAL ADDITIONS:

What Teachers Can Learn from English-Language Learners is a nice post from Lesli Maxwell, who is now posting at Ed Week’s Learning The Language blog. It’s about a survey another teacher did with students.

Gates Foundation Minimizing Great Tools For Helping Teachers Improve Their Craft

Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way)

Feedback From Students Becomes a Campus Staple, but Some Go Further is from The New York Times.


The Flipped Classroom: Students Assessing Teachers
is from Education Week.

Student surveys for children as young as 5 years old may help rate teachers is from The Washington Post. This ridiculous idea is just another example of how “school reformers” can take an idea that has great potential and warp it so everyone gets harmed.

Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement is by Heather Wolpert-Gawron is not an exact fit for this list, but it’s worth reading.

I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This: “Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys”

“Why Kids Should Grade Teachers” — Not!

“What education reformers did with student surveys” Is Clearly A Candidate For Best Educational Policy Post Of The Year

Take Student Complaints With Caution is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

“Two Cheers for Gates Foundation Student Survey Research” — Guest Post By Dr. John Thompson

Asking Students about Teaching is a report from the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

This Is A Very Worrying Interview About Students Grading Teachers

Engagement — Dilbert Style

Amanda Ripley wrote a feature titled Why Kids Should Grade Teachers, which parrots the typical school reformer line on using student evaluations in a formal teacher evaluation process.

Felix Salmon at Reuters wrote a devastating critique of her article and the whole idea in What education reformers did with student surveys.

It’s clearly a candidate for best educational policy post of the year. Here are some excerpts, but the whole piece is a “must-read”:

….along comes the Gates Foundation with a 36-question survey, severely chopped from a much longer one developed by Ronald Ferguson. Since there are 36 questions, the survey essentially measures teachers along 36 different axes, all of which are aligned with each other to differing degrees. In and of itself, that’s more useful than just measuring test scores, which are much less teacher-specific and which only provide one axis of educational quality.

But then what do the reformers do? They regress the survey answers against test scores, look at which survey questions align most closely with that test-score axis, and declare that those axes — the ones which test scores, by definition, are already measuring — must be the “most important”. Did you think that caring about kids was of paramount importance? Silly you! It turns out that caring about kids isn’t as correlated with test-score results as, say, whether the class learns to correct its mistakes. And therefore, we shouldn’t be worrying as much about whether teachers care about their kids; we should be worrying more about other things, instead. That’s what the test-score regressions tell us, so it must be true!…..

No! Stop! Do none of these people get it? What everybody wants, here, is better teachers. These surveys could be instrumental in helping to improve teaching. Teachers would be able to see where they score well and where they score badly, and ask themselves how to improve their scores in areas where they are weak. Principals could see which teachers were good on which axes, and set classes up so that students ended up with a balanced range of teachers. And generally, everybody could treat this data as an interesting and very rich way of improving educational outcomes.

Instead, reformers are rushing to use this data as a quantitative performance-review tool, something which can get you a raise or which can even get you fired. And by so doing, they’re turning it from something potentially extremely useful, into a bone of contention between teachers and managers, and a metric to be gamed and maximized.

Why Rating Your Doctor Is Bad For Your Health is from Forbes. There may be some parallels to including student evaluations of teachers in a formal evaluation process.

The Stability of Observational and Student Survey Measures of Teaching Effectiveness is a useful paper from USC Professor Morgan S. Polikoff.

Gates Perspective On Student Surveys Was Bad, But Now It’s Getting Weird

Do the Best Professors Get the Worst Ratings? is from Psychology Today.

Uh Oh, It Looks Like Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Has His Own Pet Teacher Evaluation Project

Better Teachers Receive Worse Student Evaluations is the provocative headline of a Harvard Business Review report on a new study. Since I’m also a big advocate of using student evaluations of teachers and an equally strong believer in their not being used in the formal evaluation process, I was going to pay to get access to it, but then I read this more extensive analysis of the research as the Chronicle of Higher Education. It sounds like its focus is on a more esoteric mathematical critique of how the results are used in colleges instead of broader discussion of the bigger problems behind their use.

Feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

7 Comments

  1. I have always had the students evaluate my teaching and how they felt it impacted their success. (I also ask them to evaluate what they could improve in their academic work.) I appreciate honest feedback and will use it whenever I can. Their latest set of comments on the anatomy unit I am bringing to the science department head for consideration in reevaluating the curriculum and biology schedule.

  2. Thanks so much for your posts on student evaluations. This year I taught a new course that I had not previously taught, and as the year progressed I formed opinions rapidly on things that I thought I did well, things I knew I wanted to change right away, and so on. But what did the STUDENTS think? Honestly, I was a little scared to ask. However, I took the plunge anyway and created a survey a few days ago modeled after some of the ones I’ve seen on your site. However, I made it anonymous online using Fluid Surveys (that way I wouldn’t recognize anyone’s handwriting, especially if I didn’t like what they said :)). So far 10 of the 20 students in the class have responded, and it has (mostly) been constructive and helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have it password protected right now so only my students can see it. When they have all completed it, I will see if I can take screen shots or change the privacy settings.

  4. Pingback: Using Student Surveys to Ask Students For Feedback - Who's Game?

  5. Pingback: “Two Cheers for Gates Foundation Student Survey Research … | The Foundations Research Site

  6. Pingback: Ideas for English-Language Learners | Celebrating the End of the School Year - NYTimes.com

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