3.1. Reviewing survey responses

Learning Objectives

  • Identify specific student needs reported in survey feedback.
  • Navigate to resources that connect evidence-based strategies with the identified student needs.

You might consider approaching reviewing your students’ survey responses as you would analyzing data of any sort: look for trends and patterns, identify outliers, and triangulate their responses with what you observed in the analytics.

Before you begin

Start by defining some thresholds before you begin digging into your survey responses. For example, you may decide that you will re-address content in class if over 60% of your students reported finding it confusing. You may wish to address survey feedback that doesn’t meet your threshold, but doing so on an individual basis might be a better use of your and your students’ time. The threshold is ultimately arbitrary, but making a decision before you look at your students’ feedback can simplify your decision-making process.


What to consider as you’re reviewing responses

As you’re reviewing your survey responses, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for words or phrases that you see emerging frequently.

For example, in response to “Why were you unable to complete the video?” if you noticed that a number of students were using words like, “irrelevant” or “different than the book,” then it could be worth making an explicit connection between the video and other course content during your next less, or even structuring an assignment where students are guided through making that connection.

  • Remember that people (not just students!) don’t always know what they need.

Your students may recommend courses of action that don’t make sense for your course. You don’t always need to fulfill their requests, but make sure that you’re being transparent with them when you don’t. Providing context will help them come with you when you propose moving in another direction.

  • Think about the whole picture, not just the survey responses.

On occasion you may find that your survey feedback doesn’t match the information you gathered in the “review” step. For example, you may receive feedback from your students reporting that they enjoyed a video and found it valuable, but the information you gathered in the “review” step suggests that most of them didn’t watch the video all the way through. Consider possibilities: did your students enjoy the video but not finish it because it’s too long? Are your students reporting that they enjoyed the video because they believe they’re expected to?

  • “Amend” doesn’t need to be a one-time process.

If the survey responses you received didn’t give you actionable feedback, you can always reach out to your students again. Addressing their needs may require a longer conversation.


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Review, Amend, Apply: A Framework for Using Analytics in the Classroom Copyright © by Amit Chauhan; Andi Strackeljahn; Carrie Coaplen; Emily Oakes; Jennifer Turrentine; and Sally Jamerson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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