A Different Type of Survey

A Different Type of Survey

by Samantha Hartlen

I have been struggling to come up with ways to ask students to demonstrate their learning, rather than asking them if they feel like they’ve learned something. Most methods that I have discovered work best when you see students over the course of a longer period of time and don’t translate well when the educational intervention may have only lasted a few hours.

Surveys are easy, quick, and helpful!

Traditionally when I’ve used surveys, I’ve developed learning outcomes (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy) and then asked students to indicate on a Likert scale their level of agreement that they have achieved that learning outcome. For my next survey I plan to use the same learning outcomes and the same method (a survey) but change the language to ask students to demonstrate their learning instead of asking them to agree with what we want them to learn.

Here are 6 question starters that I have come up with related to the different taxonomy levels:

Level 1: Remember–> Can you list….

Level 2: Understand–> Can you give an example of…

Level 3: Apply –> Describe options….

Level 4: Analyze–> What is the difference between…

Level 5: Evaluate–> What would you recommend…

Level 6: Create–> Articulate your plan to…

These data will have to be analyzed in a different way as the method moves from quantitative to qualitative. I anticipate it being a more time consuming process, and using coding as a technique. Through gathering this type information I hope to be able to compare responses to the intended learning outcomes for levels of efficacy. I will also have some concrete examples to support my claims of what they have – or haven’t- learned.

I was strongly influenced by these two articles if you’d like to read more related to this topic!




Samantha Hartlen works in the University of Toronto Career Centre as Coordinator, Career Education

This article has 1 comment

  1. […] It provides consistency in defining learning. It helps ensure coherence among program elements, especially assessment. Most importantly, it provides students with a way to organize their thinking about learning; […]

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