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The one-point raise on a Google Form

February 7, 2012

pencil point sculptures a_011In her wonderful book, Teaching What You Don’t Know, Therese Huston describes a technique she calls the “One-Point Raise.” Huston directs the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Seattle University, and she writes about a clinical psychologist who first has patients rate an experience on a scale of 1 to 10, then asks what would need to happen for them to raise that score by one point.

It’s easy to see how a teacher could apply this technique to receive feedback on a new strategy or a topic being covered in class, and in her book Ms. Huston describes how she uses paper to administer the questions. In some situations, though, a Google Form might be more efficient (hence the connection with this blog).

For the first item Huston encourages folks to create a scale that encourages a wide range of responses. A “10” should indicate that the student can’t imagine any way the experience could have been better, while a “1” might mean they would rather have waited on line for two hours at the motor vehicle bureau.

In responding to the second question, some students will identify something they could have done themselves. Others will point out a factor that the teacher can control. If you allow them to respond to these two items anonymously students should generally be honest, believing they have nothing to lose. Try it yourself; respond on the Google Form below and check out the results.

After collecting and tabulating the data it’s critical that you share the results with students. They need to know how the class will change in response to their feedback. You don’t have to share all of your data, nor do you have to do everything the students ask. There will be some things you simply can’t change. School policy, for example, may dictate that you must give a final exam. On the other hand, if you are not willing to change anything, why bother asking for feedback?

Image credit: “pencil point sculptures a_011” by Flickr user DrJohnBullas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

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