B. Creating a Survey
Student attitudes and dispositions can be measured
formally or informally. For example, teachers observe student actions
and expressions throughout the school day. Likewise, informal
classroom interactions occur constantly, with questions such as
"Did you enjoy the movie?" "Why the sad face?"
and "Do you think you'd like to be an astronaut?" For
this lesson, however, we will concentrate on a more formal format
for attitude assessment -- a survey (also referred to as a questionnaire).
Here are a few general guidelines for creating a survey.
- Set your targets first -- make sure you know why you are conducting
- If necessary, obtain clearance from your principal or school
- Make sure students understand the intent of the survey.
- Provide clear directions about how to respond to the survey.
- Keep it short (generally one page is sufficient).
- Use a clear and concise writing style, at the appropriate reading
- Don't ask questions that will embarrass anyone or invade students'
- Don't ask questions that are not related to your classroom.
- Allow plenty of time to conduct the survey.
- If it is an anonymous survey, make sure it stays that way.
- Don't reward or punish students based on their responses.
- Keep survey results private -- do not leave them in places where
others might access them.
Surveys can consist of open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions,
or rating scales that allow students to indicate how strongly they
agree or disagree with specific statements. You can also use
a combination of approaches -- as long as it's clear to the student
how to respond to the questions.
Open-ended surveys contain questions, followed by an area for the
student to fill in a response. This survey type is generally used
to obtain general, rather than specific, feedback from students.
Writing open-ended surveys is quite easy; however, compiling the
results can be more difficult because these surveys don't use a
scale or ranking for options.
When writing questions for open-ended surveys, do not make the
questions too general or ambiguous. For example, suppose I would
like to know your reaction to the online delivery of this course,
and asked the following question: "What do you think
about the format of this class?" The problem is that
"format" can be ambiguous -- does it refer to online vs.
classroom delivery; five lessons vs. ten; the structure of the lessons
and the use of Try Its; the evaluation requirements; or the timeframe?
If you have a specific target (purpose) for a question, you must
make sure the question is clear.
Surveys can be conducted orally, on paper, or via a computer, and
there are many tools available to help you create surveys.
For example, SurveyBuilder
is a website that allows users to create free, online surveys.
Is you have specific questions, with specific answer choices, the
best approach might be to create a multiple-choice survey. For example,
if I wanted to know which of the lessons in the course you felt
was the most relevant or difficult or time-consuming or meaningless,
I could construct a multiple choice question, with the lesson titles
as the alternatives. For example:
Which lesson did you find most relevant for your classroom?
- Basic Concepts
- Selected Response Assessments
- Constructed Response Assessments
- Performance Assessment
- Classroom Interactions
- Attitude Surveys
Ranking Scale Surveys
Ranking scales (often referred to as Likert scales) are very common
on surveys. Basically, a statement is presented, then the student
can respond on a scale that indicates how much (or little) they
agree with the statement (see Figure 2).
|For the following statements, please indicate
whether you agree or disagree.
|This course is too time-consuming.
|This course offers valuable information that I'll be able
to use in my classroom.
Sample Likert scale.
In his book, Classroom Assessment: What Teachers
Need to Know , Popham (2002) offers eight steps for building
a Likert inventory or survey (p. 225-226).
- Choose the affective variable you want to assess.
- Generate a series of favorable and unfavorable statements regarding
the affective variable.
- Get several people to classify each statement as positive or
- Decide on the number and phrasing of the response options for
- Prepare the self-report inventory, giving students directions
regarding how to respond and stipulating that the inventory
must be completed anonymously.
- Administer the inventory either to your own students or, if
possible (as a tryout), to other students.
- Score the inventories.
- Identify and eliminate statements that fail to function in accord
with the other statements.