It’s midterm season here at Mizzou (and nationally in terms of politics). Reaching the midpoint of the semester is a natural time to ask, how am I doing? Whether things are going well or not so well, you should really reach out to students to get some feedback while there is still time to turn this ship around.
My favorite way to solicit student feedback came from one of my favorite professors (and math ed legend) Dr. Jeremy Kilpatrick. Dr. Kilpatrick had a simple system for gathering course feedback and he did so in lieu of the university’s largely useless (IMO) evaluation system. Here’s how it works:
- Step 1 – Have each student get a piece of paper and fold it into quadrants.
- Step 2 – Mark the quadrants (in no particular order): Do More, Do Less, Start, and Stop
- Step 3 – Ask students to describe what they wish you’d do more, do less, start doing, and stop doing in the relevant quadrants.
That’s it! I just did this with my students. I got useful feedback to improve my course moving forward. I preface this activity by talking about what is useful feedback to me and what is not. For example, saying stop doing readings is not useful. I don’t know why you want me to stop and what would be more helpful in their place. So, I tell them a more useful comment would be something that explains what you don’t find useful about the readings and a possible alternate to that practice. Giving useful feedback is an important skill that will serve them well for years to come.
As a K12 teacher I seldom did gathered formal feedback on my teaching from students, but I sure wish I had! I’d love to hear other ways you collect feedback from your students, feel free to share in the comments.