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As most people know, “exit interviews” are typically done in companies when a worker is leaving and an employer can gain feedback about they felt about working their and learn their reasons for leaving.

Though I use the same term, I turn its meaning on its head for voluntary exit interviews I offer to students near the end of the year.

I gain valuable feedback from them through anonymous evaluations of the class and me (see Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers)), so we don’t really talk about the class or me  in these conversations.

In my student “exit interviews,” I offer to do them with any student who wants one.  In those conversations, I explain, I will offer my comments on what I view as their strengths and areas where I think they might want to consider improving.

In my IB Theory of Knowledge class, students can come up to me anytime during the last three weeks of school when we’re working on a final essay and project.  In my ELL Newcomers class, it’s typically during the last couple of days of school when we’re watching the movie “Ferdinand” (we use the book as a mentor text for a story-writing unit, which is the last academic activity in the year.

I follow the same strategy in these interviews that I do when I provide feedback to writing – go very heavy on the strengths, and just discuss one-or-two areas for improvement – always in a very positive tone.

Typically, between one-third and one-half of students take advantage of these interviews.  They usually pick up speed near the end after students with whom I’ve talked have shared with others how good they felt about their conversations.

Do you do anything similar?