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Classroom Management: Improve Teaching with a Survey

Janelle Cox

If you are looking for a way to use classroom management to improve your teaching, then a student survey may be just the tool you need. Student feedback is a great way use classroom management to find out how you are doing as a teacher. In fact, research has found that concrete feedback from students can actually help teachers improve. Collecting student feedback is easy and there are many ways that you can do it. Here we will take a closer look at the different classroom management options that you have to collect student feedback.

Classroom Management: Collecting Input from Students

There are many different ways that you can gather input, and the way that you choose usually will depend upon what you want to find out. If you are looking to identify what lessons weren’t good, then you can create an open-ended survey, or if you are looking for specific feedback, then a Likert scale may be the way to go. Here are a few student survey options for you to choose from.

Open-Ended Survey

If you are looking for a more detailed answer, then an open-ended survey is the way to go. This type of survey allows you collect more data because the students will answer the question with more detail. Reviewing this type of survey takes time, so it is suggested that you ask students no more than three questions. Open-ended surveys can be created for free on Google Forms or just simply written on the front board for students to answer in their journals. Here are a few sample questions for your reference.

  • Describe (in detail) a lesson that you did not like. What didn’t you like about it and what would you change?
  • What was your favorite lesson overall? Why did you like it? What made it your favorite?
  • Describe a time in class that you felt frustrated. What made you feel this way?

Likert Scale Survey

A Likert scale survey is a closed-ended form that students can answer by choosing a preset response, or a number or word. Using this type of survey, the students will rate the questions or statements on a scale of 1-5. Teachers provide the questions or comments and then the students rate them according to the scale. This type of survey would be best used for teachers who do not want to sift through detailed answers and are just looking for quantifiable data. They are also good for students who dislike writing their opinions. Here is an example of what this type of survey looks like.

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5 = I strongly agree
4 = I agree
3 = I feel neutral
2 = I disagree
1 = I disagree strongly

The goals of this class were clear.

The assignments were manageable.

I learned a lot from this class.

Focus Group Survey

A focus group is another option to get student feedback. This is where students sit in a small or large group and answer survey questions which require their feedback. This is basically a verbal open-ended survey where students voice their opinions aloud to one another. Students can sit in a circle and take turns reading and responding to a question from the survey. In order for the teacher to get valuable feedback, it is suggested that you audio record, videotape, or assign one student per group to capture the conversation. Focus groups are a great way for students to hear their classmates’ opinions as well. Many of the other surveys are usually privately answered, so this gives the students the opportunity to hear what their peers have to say too. Here are a few examples of what to ask in a focus group.

  • What were the things that you liked the most about this class?
  • What are the things that you liked the least about this class?
  • What are a few ways that you would improve this class?
  • What do you wish we could have done more of?
  • What do you wish we could have do less of?

Anonymous Survey

Sometimes students do not feel comfortable voicing their opinion. For these students, it’s suggested that you give them an option of an anonymous survey. This can be either open-ended or closed. The best time of year for this type of survey is at the end of the school year, because you will get total honestly from the students since they will no longer be in your class and don’t have any fear for repercussions.

Letters to Next Year’s Students

A letter is a longer form of an open-ended survey. While this is not a traditional type of survey, you will get to learn a few things that you did not know before. This is where the students can voice their opinions about what the incoming students should expect and look forward to next year. This is a good option if you want to see how the students really feel about your class. Students tend to be very candid when writing these letters because they are allowed to free write and give advice on how they can prepare for the class.

Analyzing Data

Once you have your student feedback, you can analyze the data and plan the steps that you need to make any changes. This information can be very powerful so make sure that you find a way to implement it into your teaching.

Do you use student surveys as part of your classroom management to learn more about your teaching? If so, what are your favorites? Please share your response in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.

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