Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Utility (or Futility?) of Teacher Report Cards

Every year, I gave my students an end-of-year survey, asking them to rate me on a variety of attributes...helpfulness, clarity, smell, etc..

But this year I stopped...for several reasons.

First, I never really felt like I got anything out of it. At the end of the year, many of my kids go into one of two modes. Either they're really nostalgic and they want to tell me how much they love me and my class. (This is very understandable. I'm very lovable.) Or they couldn't care less because the summer vacation is upon them and they don't want to be bothered. Either way, the feedback never felt very accurate.

Second, a lot of the information was either too ambiguous or complaints about how I should have fed them candy. Some were dissatisfied with the fact that I didn't let them sleep.

Third, and this is a big one, I feel like I've been constantly getting feedback throughout the year, whether I wanted it or not. I see what my students learned. I know what they liked and didn't like. They tell me every freaking day! Why would I give them one more outlet for this?

I'm not saying these report cards aren't worthwhile. In the past, I would always use them as a starting point for all of the changes I would make the following year. But I think it's more important that teachers gather feedback throughout the entire school year, reflect, and constantly make adjustments. If you do this, you don't need to do an end-of-year survey.