Survey System Effective Means for Informing Instructional Practices

Sofie Blaj, Staff Writer

A teacher goes through a slideshow at lightning pace, and students are left lost and afraid to ask him to slow down. Another teacher has a group project that forces straight-A students to carry 4 to 5 other people, but the students hold their tongue when turning in the write-up.

While students frequently receive feedback about their performance from  instructors, it is rare for students to have the opportunity to offer performance evaluations of their instructors.  Yet, such practices are proven to be useful.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College Sean Decatur told The New York Times, “[Student] insights into the classroom are often thoughtful, clear and cogent. Written comments tend to be more valuable than numerical rankings; when reading many evaluations, broader patterns emerge in the comments.”

Student feedback can be a critical resource for teachers as they consider how to best deliver curriculum content and tailor support to meet the unique needs of individual learners.

Unfortunately, most pupils lack the gumption to let the teacher know they are confused. Shy students would benefit from an anonymous survey that allows them to express their concerns without the threat of embarrassment. is hardly a useful tool for the purpose of providing feedback for fostering stronger student-teacher relationships and effectively conveying student needs. Most posts on the site are jokes, mean-spirited criticism, or retaliation from parents and students unwilling to take responsibility for their own failings.

Additionally, is not specific to 1 school and does not attempt to analyze the data or convey constructive information to educators in any kind of partnership for the purpose of supporting student growth.

What Campolindo should do is create its own platform for students to provide anonymous, honest and thoughtful feedback about their classroom experiences so that teachers can better adjust their instructional practices based on what learners perceive to be the most challenging content, and what they feel are effective and ineffective strategies.

Ronald Ferguson, the initial creator of a survey program known as Tripod, tested his theories at a school district in Ohio and was shocked by what the responses revealed. In an article published by the American Association of School Administrators, Ferguson reported, “Students took note of teachers who seemed to care, who made them work hard but were smart and fair. They castigated teachers who couldn’t explain lessons, who were arbitrary with rules or who appeared to wish they were somewhere else altogether.”

Such a system provides fundamental feedback that can make the learning environment better for everyone involved.

Students deserve an opportunity to make suggestions regarding their educational experience. Implementing a survey system would be an effective method for ensuring that their voices are heard.