Student Perception Survey Changes

Teachers and students reflect on the changes made to this year’s Student Perception Survey


Madison Seckman

A student fills out this year’s Student Perception Survey, which is designed to help both students and teachers. “Unless you end up having the same teacher down the road, it doesn’t really have an effect on us [students], [but] the survey does give us the chance to express our feelings and concerns that we’ve had throughout the school year,” freshman Garrett Rymer said.

Lianka Pechova, News Writer

The Student Perception Survey, which is sent to all students to give them an opportunity to evaluate their teachers, was sent April 26 after being postponed for two years due to COVID.

“We want to ask kids for their feedback about their teachers so that we can help improve student learning,” Assistant Principal Marcus McDavid said. “It’s feedback about the teacher and the learning experience for the kiddos.”

Although the survey has positive intentions, English teacher Stephany Shadwell believes that the survey doesn’t fulfill them and hurts students and teachers, as it is anonymous and doesn’t allow direct student-to-teacher contact.

“I think it’s awful that a school would sanction an activity that teaches kids that it’s okay to be disingenuous and comment about a person without honor and without any lessons to actually find meaningful ways to communicate authentically with [teachers],” Shadwell said over an email interview.

Science teacher Lindsey Paricio-Moreau, on the other hand, thinks that the survey is a good way to connect teachers and students.

“I think it’s easy for us to disconnect from what it’s like to be a student,” Paricio-Moreau said. “It’s really good to get the connection and be like, ‘This worked,’ ‘This didn’t,’ and [students] are living different high school experiences than we [teachers] do, so [students are] the best ones to tell us what works and what doesn’t.”

Although he agrees that the survey can benefit student learning and help students express their views, social studies teacher Fletcher Woolsey argues that the survey doesn’t provide enough opportunities for students to express themselves, which in turn skews the results.

“Students are the ones who have the most to gain or lose from our time in the classroom so they should be able to express how they feel about the experience,” Woolsey said over an email interview. “There are flaws, however. For one, the survey this year is not allowing for open ended questions. This does not leave students opportunities to express themselves. A student may rate a class as ‘Really Hard’ or a teacher’s homework load as being very high but then not have the chance to explain it.”

Some students also share the belief that a lack of free-response questions limits the evaluation teachers get from the survey.

“Students should have the option to give written explanations of their thoughts and experiences with each teacher,” freshman Garrett Rymer said. “This will provide teachers with a much more specific idea of where their strengths and weaknesses lie in their teaching abilities and give them a much better understanding of how to improve.”

The Student Perception Survey was put on hold during the COVID pandemic and was brought back this year, with hopes of it becoming biannual so that teachers who teach semester-long classes can also receive feedback.

“We can get big level feedback [through the surveys] about what’s going on around the school so that we can try to help our students and our teachers to be better at helping kids learn,” McDavid said. “So I’m excited about the limitless opportunities that are associated with getting feedback from students about their learning experience.”