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Surveys rely on self-reported information from the students. Information can be gathered, not only about knowledge, but also about confidence and attitudes. To obtain honest and useful responses, trust must be established between the students and the teacher.
Regular use of surveys, followed by positive consequences, will reassure students that it is a worthwhile method of communication. Students often reveal their worries, fears, dislikes and weaknesses, so privacy must be respected.
Surveys should be short and the questions open-ended. Although specific topic questions can be useful, generic questions can be reused.
- How are you feeling about your maths learning at the moment?
- What is something you learned in maths this week that you did not know before?
- What is something from maths this week that you would like more help with?
- What activity did you like best? Why?
- What activity did you like least? Why?
Surveys have the additional benefit of prompting reflection by students on their own learning. This encourages them to take some responsibility for monitoring their own progress.
Surveys can be printed on paper or set up online.
In this example, a student's response to a survey provides the teacher with new insights into his personal learning space regarding fractions.