I’ve always regretted the fact that the last few moments I get to share with my students each year are spent with their heads down, brows furrowed, diligently attuned to the closed-ended questions of their final exams. The kids sweat out their final exams in a room of respectful silence, the bell rings, and teachers watch them disappear in a frenetic haze of exhilaration and cathartic jubilation.
And just before they dash out of my classroom for the last time, as they bubble in their last required Scantron sheet of the year, I always find myself thinking, “Is this the best way to honor the time we’ve spent together? Shouldn’t our final minutes together be a celebration of our journey together, replete with streamers, balloons, nostalgic music, and slow-motion heads thrown back in laughter?” We’ve become one another’s heroes, after all, and we deserve the opportunity to share what we’ve meant to each other.
Alas, that’s not how our master schedule is designed. Final exams comprise the length of students’ final days of the school year, and they’re weighted heavily. And thus, the heavy silence of assessment befalls us during our final encounter.
What do we educators learn from this? That’s easy: we quantify how well our students mastered the standards of the courses we taught.
But what if we want to know more? What if we want to know how students perceive us, how we met their learning styles, how our shared experiences affected them on a personal level? That’s easy, too: a survey!
In my effort to improve my pedagogy, I include a survey in my final exam. As long as each student responds honestly and thoughtfully, they earn full credit and my enduring respect.
Here’s a dowloadable PDF of what I’m asking them this year, using surveyplanet.com:
Student Reflection Survey
Feel free to use/modify any of these questions to survey your own students.
Let us know how it went in the comments section below!