Surveying students is an important tool for educators to gauge the effectiveness of their teaching methods and curriculum.
By collecting data from students through surveys, teachers can gain valuable insight into how well their lessons are being received, what topics need more attention, and which techniques are working best in the classroom.
However, conducting student surveys isn’t as simple as just asking a few questions; there are certain steps that must be taken to ensure accuracy and validity in the results.
We’re breaking down when and how to survey students in order to get useful information that can help improve instruction.
Everything to Know About Student Surveys
Student surveys are an invaluable tool for teachers to better understand their students and the effectiveness of their teaching methods.
Surveys provide teachers with valuable insights into how well their lessons and curriculum are being received, what topics need more attention, and which techniques are working best in the classroom.
Student surveys also allow educators to identify areas where additional support may be needed and provide feedback on what is working well.
Benefits of Student Surveys
There are a number of benefits to implementing student surveys and depending on the outcome you’re looking for, a few of these may be applicable to your surveying process.
1. Gather Valuable Insights Into How Well Lessons and Curriculum Are Being Received
Student surveys provide teachers with valuable insights into the effectiveness of their teaching methods and curriculum.
Surveys can also reveal which techniques and strategies are working best in the classroom, allowing teachers to adjust their instruction accordingly.
2. Identify Areas Where Additional Support May Be Needed
Student surveys can also help identify areas where students may need more guidance or assistance.
This is especially helpful for teachers who are working with a diverse student body or those that have varying learning needs.
3. Provide Feedback on What Is Working Well
Student surveys can provide teachers with valuable feedback on what is and isn’t working in the classroom.
Through survey data, educators can gain a better understanding of how their instruction is being received by their students and make adjustments accordingly.
4. Better Understand Students’ Needs and Interests
Surveying students helps teachers learn more about their students. It can show what topics need more help and which teaching methods work best so the teacher can make changes if needed.
Surveying can also help teachers understand their student’s needs and interests better. Because no two students are identical or learn the exact same way, it’s beneficial to check in with each to see what you can do to help them learn better.
5. Improve Teaching Techniques and Methods
Student surveys can help educators improve their teaching techniques and methods.
By gathering data from students, teachers can gain a deeper understanding of what is working well in the classroom and areas where they may need to make adjustments.
This information can then be used to develop or refine lesson plans and instructional techniques that are more effective for the class as a whole.
6. Receive Honest, Unfiltered Feedback From Students
Student surveys provide teachers with honest, unfiltered feedback from their students.
By collecting data directly from the source (the students), educators can gain a more accurate assessment of how their instruction is being received and make any necessary adjustments accordingly.
Other tools like having a course auditor can be helpful, but nothing will be as impactful as hearing directly from those that are affected most by what is taught and how it is taught.
7. Measure Progress Over Time
Student surveys can also be used to measure progress over time. By collecting data from students repeatedly, teachers can track how their teaching methods and curriculum are being received by the class as a whole and make any necessary adjustments.
This is especially helpful for instructors who are looking to improve their instruction or develop new strategies over the course of a school year.
Instructors can learn where they may be lacking or why they may have lost student interest over time.
8. Learn What’s Affect Students Outside the Classroom
Student surveys can also provide insight into what’s happening outside the classroom.
It can show how students are being impacted by external factors such as their home environment or social circles and how these influences may be affecting their learning.
This data can help teachers better understand their students and tailor instruction accordingly.
Best Times to Survey Students
It is important to take into consideration the timing of when to administer a survey.
For example, the beginning of the school year can be an ideal time to survey students in order to gain insights about their learning preferences and needs.
The information collected through student surveys can inform instruction for the rest of the year, allowing teachers to adjust curriculum and instruction accordingly.
Likewise, surveys can also be conducted at the end of the school year to assess student learning and comprehension.
This will allow teachers to measure their progress over the course of a school year and make any necessary changes for the following year.
Surveys can also be used throughout the year to provide feedback on instruction or curriculum in real time.
With this information, you can modify and adjust depending on what you learn from those insights.
Example of Student Survey Questions
The questions included in a student survey will vary depending on the intent. For example, a beginning of the year questionnaire will look different than an end-of-the-year recap.
Below are just a few examples of the questions you might find on student surveys.
1. How well do you feel the course is preparing you for future college courses?
2. What topics have been most helpful in your learning?
3. Are there any topics that need more attention during the course?
4. Are there any activities or strategies that are particularly helpful for understanding the material?
5. Do you have any suggestions for improving the course?
6. How do you feel about the difficulty level of the course?
7. Are there any topics that are too difficult to understand?
8. Are there any topics that you think should be removed from the curriculum?
9. What is your overall opinion of the course and its effectiveness?
Methods for Surveying Students
When conducting a student survey, there are several methods that can be used to ensure accuracy and validity in the results. Here are some of the most common methods for surveying students.
1. Online surveys
Online surveys are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to collect information from students.
By using an online platform, teachers can quickly design and distribute surveys to students and track the responses in real-time.
The online surveys are especially helpful for teachers who need to survey large groups of students on a regular basis.
2. Paper surveys
Paper surveys are another popular method for gathering data from students, as they can be used to quickly collect information from large groups of students with minimal effort or cost.
However, it is important to note that paper surveys can be more time-consuming for teachers as they will need to manually review and record the responses.
Interviews are one of the most accurate methods for surveying students, as they allow teachers to ask follow-up questions and gain a deeper understanding of each student’s individual needs and interests.
Just like paper surveys, interviews can be time-consuming and are best used when surveying a small number of students.
4. Focus groups
Focus groups are another effective method for collecting data from students.
By gathering students together in a group setting, teachers can gain a better understanding of their needs and interests as well as the overall climate of the classroom.
This is especially helpful for teachers who want to gain a more comprehensive view of their students’ learning experiences.
Tips for Surveying Students
Because of the unique nature in surveying students, whether evolving k-12 or college enrollees, there is a specific approach to creating an effective survey format for them to help you yield the best results.
We’re breaking down a few tips to get you started, but keep in mind that the the best approach to surveying students will depend on them, the school, and the desired outcome of the survey!
1. Keep the Survey Short
When conducting a student survey, it is important to keep it short in order to avoid overwhelming students and maintain their focus.
Keeping surveys brief also allows for more accurate responses by ensuring that the questions are focused and relevant.
Shorter surveys can be completed quicker, making them more time-efficient and cost-effective for teachers.
2. Use Language That Is Easy to Understand
When writing survey questions, it is important to use language that is easy for students to understand.
Complex or technical terms should be avoided whenever possible, as they can lead to confusion and inaccurate responses.
Using simple language can make the survey more engaging for students and encourage them to provide honest feedback.
3. Make Sure Questions are Relevant
When writing survey questions, it is important to make sure they are relevant to the topic being surveyed.
This will help ensure that the data collected is valid and accurate, as students will be able to provide meaningful responses.
Making sure the questions are relevant can help maintain student focus and engagement in the survey.
4. Include Open-ended Questions
Including open-ended questions can help teachers gain a better understanding of their students’ needs and interests.
Open-ended questions allow for more detailed responses, which can provide valuable insights into the learning environment in the classroom.
Open-ended questions can be used to identify areas where instruction could be improved or refined.
Additional Reading: Close-ended vs. Open-ended Questions: Everything You Need to Know
5. Provide Clear Instructions
When conducting a student survey, it is important to provide clear instructions on how students should complete the survey.
This will help ensure that responses are accurate and valid, as students will be able to easily understand what they need to do in order to complete the survey correctly.
Providing clear instructions can also help maintain student focus and engagement throughout the survey process.
Surveying students is an effective way for teachers to gain insights into their teaching methods and curriculum, as well as the overall climate of the classroom.
When using one of the methods mentioned above, teachers can often quickly and efficiently collect data from students that can be used to inform their instruction and develop more effective lesson plans.
Providing clear instructions, keeping surveys brief, and offering incentives can help increase student engagement and ensure accurate responses.
By taking the time to survey their students, teachers can gain valuable insights that will help them improve their instruction and create a more effective learning environment for their students.
Need to run an online survey? Try our free online survey builder and start collecting insights today!
Q. What is the best method for surveying students?
A. The best method for surveying students depends on your needs and preferences. Online surveys are often the most efficient and cost-effective option, while interviews can provide more detailed information about individual student needs and interests. Focus groups can also help teachers gain a better understanding of the overall climate of their classroom.
Q. How can I ensure accurate responses when surveying students?
A. To ensure accurate responses, you’ll want to make sure to provide clear instructions on how to complete the survey and use language that is easy to understand. Keeping surveys brief and relevant can help maintain student focus and engagement throughout the process. Offering incentives such as gift cards or extra credit can encourage more participation from students.
Q. What types of questions should I include in my survey?
A. Always include both closed-ended and open-ended questions in your survey. Closed-ended questions can provide valuable quantitative data, while open-ended questions allow for more detailed responses that can offer deeper insights into student needs and interests.
Q. What should I do with the data once I have collected it?
A. Once you have collected data from students, the analyzing process is just as important in order to gain insights into your teaching methods and curriculum as well as the overall climate of the classroom. This data can be used to inform instruction and develop more effective lesson plans, as well as identify areas where instruction could be improved or refined.