by Jennifer Esmail
In last week’s introductory post, “Applying Classroom Assessment Techniques to Student Life Programming,” I outlined a range of methods for garnering formative feedback during an ongoing program. After collecting information from your student program participants, there remains the important step of responding to that feedback in a way that is transparent, responsive and flexible.
Here are some tips:
- Always report the results of the feedback to your participants
There are many ways to effectively organize and summarize the feedback so that you can present it back to your students. For instance, you could choose a few major themes that emerged and speak to them in turn. Alternatively, you could divide up the results into categories such as “What is going well” “What you would like to see changed” and “Things that are out of our control”
- As part of your reporting of results, transparently outline how you intend to respond to the feedback
For example, will you be able to make changes to address student comments? If so, outline them. If not, what is your rationale for the pedagogical choice you are making? Sometimes simply explaining your approach in more detail can help students understand why you have chosen to run your program in certain ways.
- Involve students in the problem-solving process of responding to feedback
For instance, if some students said the program was covering material too quickly and others said it was moving too slowly, you might bring that dilemma to the group and ask them for suggestions on how to proceed in a way that respects everyone’s learning needs.
- Consider applying further classroom assessment techniques to ensure that you’ve successfully addressed the issues that emerged in student feedback
Responding to student feedback and student learning needs should be an on-going and iterative process. If one issue was pervasive in the student feedback, and you’ve crafted changes to address it, you might want to create a short, focused assessment to gauge how your intervention is working. Keep checking in with your students about their experiences in the program throughout its duration.
Jennifer is Coordinator of Academic Initiatives at the Centre for Community Partnerships and a member of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Committee.