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Formalizing Student Feedback with YouthTruth Surveys

Surveying students annually to determine common trends and opportunities to improve instruction

Context

As part of their partnership with the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, Cisco Junior High School is one of five Raise Your Hand Texas Raising Blended Learners demonstration sites, all of whom collect data on student experiences through YouthTruth surveys. Cisco is currently in their third year of using the survey, which they administer annually to students in grades 3-8. The intent of the survey is to measure non-academic components they deem important, which are:

  1. student perceptions of academic rigor,
  2. student engagement and persistence, and
  3. student perceptions of peer collaboration.

YouthTruth provides online surveys that are quick and easy to administer, as well as data reports that help educators better understand their students and instruction. The survey itself takes less than 45 minutes to administer to an entire grade (approximately 65 students) and generates both detailed and high-level reports based on student responses. Educators can look at data across all grades, individual grades, and individual topics within grades. Individual student responses are anonymous, but collective data helps Cisco educators modify instruction to better meet their students' needs.

The surveys are not solely focused on blended learning, though the data they provide has been beneficial to blended teachers. Peer collaboration is an important part of how Cisco delivers the personalization component of blended learning, and teachers implementing blended learning in the first year worked to create more opportunities for their students to interact with each other. While teachers felt good about the amount of peer collaboration in their classrooms, data from the surveys showed no difference in students’ perception of collaboration across blended and non-blended classrooms. This information helped them iterate and improve the design of peer collaboration experiences within a blended classroom (e.g. defaulting to students picking their work partners instead of teachers assigning groups).

Student Does

  • Completes YouthTruth survey, providing important feedback on different aspects of instruction.
  • Provides comments in survey to add additional clarity on their responses.

Teacher Does

  • Reviews survey data to determine which components of their blended learning instruction are going well, and which need to be improved.

Technology Does

  • Provides surveys that can be quickly administered for large numbers of students.
  • Provides immediate survey results in a number of different formats that can be viewed from a variety of perspectives.