Monday, 2 February 2015

Some initial findings from my questionnaire

Good afternoon! I've just started to get some of my pre-interview questionnaires back, and thought I'd have a quick look at them whilst I had a free moment. Currently, I have thirteen responses (out of 53 sent out) from various Year 11s with me (many more from Year 8 are sat in a folder at home, anxiously awaiting my analysis). I've skimmed through some of the key questions, and have noticed a few early trends.

First of all, only two out of the thirteen respondents said that they have either 'ignored' or 'haven't used' feedback that they recently received. This suggests that most students are working (or engaging) with the targets they receive, which is a good sign. However, when asked to describe what feedback is used for, one candidate wrote that feedback is only used to 'look good when Ofsted check our books'. Another student wrote that feedback is used to 'take the piss out of u with sracstic comment [sic] and call u a god damn idiat [sic]'. I'm definitely going to flag these respondents up for potential interviews, but again I won't make the final decision here until I discuss the results of the questionnaire with my student researchers. Regardless, I find these negative comments fascinating!

The comment about Ofsted suggests that the student has a strong opinion about the effect that Ofsted has on learning; he seems to be implying that we only provide feedback to tick a box, not to help students make progress. While I think some would argue there is an element of truth in this, it takes a lot away from the real potential that feedback should have in helping students to progress. It appears to me that this particular student has become 'jaded' about the system, which could mean he's not valuing feedback as much as he could be. It would be interesting to see where these ideas arose from. I'd also like to know what the other student meant when he said that teachers use feedback to 'take the piss' - is he implying that feedback is used to personally attack students? If so, that's quite troubling!

Interestingly, the same 'Ofsted' comment student ranked comments as being neither helpful nor unhelpful, while ranking grades as being extremely helpful. However, on the whole, the other respondents were quite positive about feedback. The other responses to the uses of feedback tended to follow along the lines of 'providing ways to improve'. When ranking comments and grades, the majority of the thirteen respondents placed comments and grades at about the same level.

Another interesting point that appears to be developing so far is that five of the initial 13 feel that positive and negative comments affect them emotionally; the rest felt neutral about both. This is interesting because much of the literature that I've read so far states that many students feel the emotional effect of positive and negative comments; however, what I've seen so far suggests that this isn't always the case.

Obviously these findings are only just preliminary. I can't say for certain that these trends will continue when the rest of the data comes in, but nevertheless they provide an interesting starting point. More information will follow when I start to do some proper analysis using Numbers.