BestEducation’s Student Survey Results
To view the results click on the button to the right. The pdf is 18 pages long and the data is presented in tables with a section sorted by student comments. Below is the back story to the research.
BestEducation is a 501(c)(3) Charitable Non-Profit. Our focus is on benchmarking educational experience U.S. students have access to and making those finding available.
With the help of three teachers we received surveys back from 276 students taking 10th grade geometry at the same public high school in Contra Costa County, California. The survey is also found on our website. This document is a summary of questions 1-10 from the 276 surveys.
The surveys were taken in June of 2010 (72) at the end of a school year and in February of 2011 (204) in the middle of a school year. There were 30-37 students per class. All three teachers have Bachelor’s degrees in the subject taught, all three teachers have graduate degrees, and all three teachers have California teaching credentials. The text book used by the school district is: Bass, L., Charles, R., Hall, B., Johnson, A. & Kennedy, Dan (2008). Prentice Hall Mathematics California Geometry. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc. The text book publisher has tools and resources free to the students, available online 24/7. Two of the classrooms have Smart boards installed. The PTA funded a math tutor free to the students, available on campus after school once a week.
BestEducation interacted with one teacher. This teacher handed the surveys to the other two teachers with an accompanying letter from BestEducation. The three teachers handed out the surveys to their classes and collected them in that same class period. The surveys were to be anonymous and any survey that a student wrote their name on it was removed from the pile by the teacher and not handed back to BestEducation. The strength of the blind survey is in safeguarding the student’s identity as there are no references to a specific student their privacy is intact. The weakness of the blind survey is there is not a way to follow up with specific students over the heart wrenching comments requesting help several had written.
There were 6 stages to this research:
Stage 1 Develop the survey.
Stage 2 Network and develop trust with teachers willing to hand out the survey.
Stage 3 Handing out and gathering back the handwritten surveys.
Stage 4 Transcribing the information onto a spreadsheet.
Stage 5 Flowing the information into sorted, manageable tables that express comparisons by question, teacher and response.
Stage 6 Analysis of possible root causes and develop approaches to mitigate student’s dislike or aversion to math in general, Geometry as a topic or this class in specific.
This document is Stage 5 information presented as tables of the student responses, sorted by question, teacher and response. Following each question on the paper survey was an open line allowing the student to write in a response. These possible 276 handwritten notes per question were grouped in similar themed responses and expressed as “b” answers following the tallied answers in the tables below.
Each step was a big deal by itself and an important milestone reached but ultimately unimportant if the circle wasn’t complete, if the feedback didn’t get back to the source to create actionable steps to improve the educational experience the students have access to. As such the teachers participating got to look over the survey when the students handed them in. In addition, after the raw data was entered into a spreadsheet it was emailed back to the teachers for their use to help adjust their lesson approach to the needs the students expressed. The teachers saw raw data for only their own class, they saw the aggregate data sorted into tables comparing classrooms at the same school in a second email, and the teachers have access to this meta data on our website you are now viewing show compiling results across all students surveyed to date.
Also, a letter was mailed to the book publisher describing the survey, relaying BestEducation’s web site and contact information and indicating they could have access to the student’s feedback about their book to incorporate suggestions from 276 of their customers.
In some research situations outliers would be excluded as an anomaly, the opposite is true here. The perspective relayed in a one off expression by a student is the treasure; it is a window into what that student is experiencing and what the teacher is facing beyond the average of the group. While there isn’t a known ratio that establishes how many other students who didn’t write a reason felt the same as those who did it is more likely that responses written by the few or even by just one student are also being felt or experienced by others. Even if the single ungrouped response is really just the voice of one student, in the context of “No Child Left Behind” that student’s experiences should still be given room and addressed.