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Student voice is important and relevant across all year levels and age groups in learning communities. Young people who find their own voice in supportive school environments are more likely to develop a confident voice, a capacity to act in the world, and a willingness to lead others. By empowering students we enhance student engagement and enrich their participation in the classroom, school and community (Amplify 2019). Although research suggests that gathering feedback from the youngest students in our learning communities can be a more challenging process, there is some evidence to suggest that valid information can still be collected from these cohorts. 

Using a survey tool to collect information on teaching and learning from young students can demonstrate a higher level of validity when the following considerations are taken into account:

  • PhrasingThere is some evidence that phrasing survey items as questions rather than statements may be more effective for children aged six to eight. (Royeen, 1985).
  • Front Loading–  When administering surveys to young children, it is important to give them advance notice of the survey several times and make sure that the children understand that there are no right or wrong answers (Reynolds-Keefer & Johnson, 2011). 
  • Practice – Children should have plenty of opportunities to practice before taking a survey. (Royeen 1985) found that children aged six to eight needed three to four practice rounds to grasp the process and understand how to respond. 
  • Facilitation – With early primary students, it is best to have an adult facilitating survey completion face-to-face (Holaday & Turner-Henson, 1989; Read, 2008) and for that adult to read each prompt aloud (Wright & Asmundson, 2003).
  • ScalesFor younger children, three point scales may be the most easily understood Likert format (Royeen, 1985; Wright & Asmundson, 2003).

Allowing students the opportunity to provide feedback to their teacher – where they see their feedback carefully considered and acted upon – is empowering. This builds feedback cultures in classrooms and promotes a positive mindset regarding feedback cycles in students from a young age. 

Teachers in the early years of their career often rely on informal conversations and observation of student reactions and behaviours to gather feedback on their practice in the classroom. Although these informal methods can be constructive, a survey can provide formative, consistent and reliable data sets across year levels and cohorts, providing both individual teaching teams with workable information to collaborate, celebrate and formulate action plans for moving forward. 

 

How does the F-3 survey work?

Pivot’s F-3 Student Perception Survey on Teaching and Learning provides amplification for the youngest voices in our learning communities. Based on research and aligned to the AITSL standards students are able to respond to 10 questions using a simple three point scale. Teachers are supported with implementation guides and resources to support student conversation and further professional learning once the survey is complete. The addition of Pivot’s F-3 survey finally provides the opportunity for formal collection of meaningful student perception feedback across entire school communities.

To Learn more about the F-3 Student Perception Survey, visit www.pivotpl.com/F-3-student-perception-survey  

References

Amplify © State of Victoria (Department of Education and Training) 2019

Royeen, C. B. (1985). Adaptation of Likert scaling for use with children. The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 5(1), 59-69. 

Reynolds-Keefer, L., & Johnson, R. (2011). Is a picture worth a thousand words? Creating effective questionnaires with pictures. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 16(8). 

Holaday, B., & Turner-Henson, A. (1989). Response effects in surveys with school-age children. Nursing Research, 38, 248–250. 

Read, J. C. (2008). Validating the Fun Toolkit: An instrument for measuring children’s opinions of technology. Cognition, Technology, and Work 10(2), 119–128. 

Wright, K. D., & Asmundson, G. J. (2003). Health anxiety in children: Development and psychometric properties of the Childhood Illness Attitude Scales. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 32(4), 194-202. doi:10.1080/16506070310014691