Here’s a terrific, brief video about the value of using student feedback– or surveys– as another tool for improving instruction.
What Moves the Needle?
It’s only mid-year, and middle school music teacher Ben (not his real name) learns that three-quarters of his students have surpassed his year-end DDM goals for them. In just half a year they have made the progress with sight-reading he thought would take the whole year. This is the kind of improvement every educator and evaluator wants to see, and is the result of focus on curriculum and effective instruction.
The DDM process has led to improved instruction and student outcomes in certain classrooms. But DDMs aren’t the only aspect of the educator evaluation system designed to make a difference in teaching and learning. The system provides many mechanisms that can move the proverbial needle, including:
- Goal-setting and tracking
- Classroom observations and related conversations
- Gathering artifacts
- Measuring student growth
- Student feedback (surveys)
Question: Which one of these components is moving the needle in your district?
That First Step: Jumping in to Student and Staff Feedback
Aaron Feuer of Panorama Education, speaking with a group of curriculum directors at CES last week, provided a range of options and recommendations for districts beginning to survey staff and students.
- Opt-in model: teachers who want to participate may, they can control who they share the data with. The district administers surveys for use at school and district-wide level, while the classroom-level data are emailed to each teacher, but they don’t have to open it. (Some teachers opt into surveys when they find it to be more positive than observation data.) District leaders can choose to use these data for PD—here’s how our students see us; how do we move forward?
- Start with staff feedback only this year. Benefits: Principals model the feedback process, make it less threatening, prepare the ground, eases tensions, and set the stage for student surveys.
- Most important: trust between teacher and evaluator in looking at student feedback
Do you have another solution for launching student and staff feedback? Will any of the options described above work for your district?
Moving Ahead with Student and Staff Feedback
Beginning this school year, evidence used in the evaluation process must include student feedback (for teachers) and staff feedback (for administrators). For more details, please read Part VIII of the Model System or this Quick Reference Guide.
One important decision for districts is whether to use student surveys across the district, educator-selected instruments, or some combination of the two approaches.
Districts also have choices about how to use the survey results. Districts may choose to only allow teachers, and not district administrators, to view survey results. Teachers would then be expected to incorporate evidence gleaned from the surveys into their self-assessment and goal-setting.
The Collaborative can help with the student and staff feedback in several ways. First, we offer a workshop on the topic November 19. We are bringing outside expertise to the Pioneer Valley. Aaron Feuer, CEO of Panorama Education, the state’s chosen vendor for survey data aggregation, will speak to our Curriculum Director PLC September 19 and at the Technology in Education Conference on January 15. In addition, we will provide tech support to districts interested in independently aggregating survey data.
How Will Districts Use Student Feedback?
I met with eight districts earlier this week to discuss their plans for using student feedback. A meeting summary appears below.
Student Feedback Meeting Summary
How might CES support districts in gathering and using student and staff feedback?
July 8, 2014; Attending: Easthampton, Frontier, Hatfield, Hadley, Northampton, Pioneer Valley, South Hadley, Union 28
Sense of the Meeting: participating districts (8) intend to pursue one of these approaches:
- Use the state student survey short form (3 districts)
- Roll out a personalized approach to gathering and using student feedback (3)
- Wait to see what develops while concentrating on other ed eval components (2)
Student Feedback Next Steps:
- Once districts have studied the state’s student surveys (available here), convene another inter-district meeting to discuss and assess interest in using them. (August or September)
- Maintain communication with Panorama Education in order to:
- book student feedback PD for teachers (Fall ‘14) and district leaders (through the county superintendent steering committees, Fall ‘14)
- pursue cost-saving offer to serve aggregations of small districts (July)
- Check in with districts rolling out local solutions — some districts expressed desire for analysis support (ongoing, FY15)
CES Support for Districts (proposed)
- implement surveys via google forms or survey monkey, utilizing the state instrument or an adaptation of it
- share effective practices for using student feedback to evaluate teachers
- identify sample contract bargaining language about how student feedback data will be used in the evaluation process (available here)
Staff Feedback Next Step:
- Discuss district interest in using the state’s staff survey (available here). (Fall ‘14)