Collecting Staff and Student Feedback
The Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework incorporates information about educator practice from a wide and representative range of sources. Student and staff feedback, which is a required piece of evidence, offers a unique and important perspective on educator effectiveness. When taken together with other information sources, student and staff feedback helps to provide a more accurate and detailed picture of an educator's practice1.
Student feedback informs teachers' evaluations while staff feedback informs administrators' evaluations. By including student and staff feedback in the evidence that educators will collect, the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework ensures that this critical perspective is used to inform and support professional growth and development.
Principles of Effective Feedback Instruments
Districts have flexibility in the identification of feedback instruments for educators. Districts may choose to implement district-wide feedback instruments, such as student or staff surveys, or districts may help educators and evaluators identify feedback instruments at the individual educator level.
Regardless of the mode of feedback (e.g., surveys, interviews) or the population(s) of students the educator works with (e.g., diverse groups of students in inclusive settings), there are three main principles to consider when making decisions about student and staff feedback instruments (see Part VIII: Using Student and Staff Feedback in the Evaluation Process for more information).
Feedback should be aligned to one or more of the Massachusetts Standards and Indicators of Effective Teaching Practice in order to ensure that the feedback provides meaningful about an educator's key responsibilities.
The feedback instrument should yield results that are informative and actionable. Educators should be able to use information from the instrument to draw conclusions that allow educators to make changes in their instructional practices.
Items on the feedback instrument should be accessible to all potential respondents. Respondents need to be able to understand the questions that are asked of them, so they can respond accurately. If respondents do not understand items, educators cannot draw valid conclusions.
Using Feedback to Support Inclusive Practice
Identifying Effective Feedback Instruments
When selecting and developing staff and student feedback instruments that will support practice in inclusive settings, it is important to consider the principles of accessible instruction and positive behavior supports in terms of both content and process.
Content: Does the feedback instrument solicit input from students or staff that directly addresses practices or experiences related to accessible instruction and positive behavior supports?
Process: Is the feedback instrument designed and administered in a way that makes it possible for all students or staff to participate?
Addressing these questions will afford all staff and students opportunities to provide feedback on their working or schooling experience, as well as to inform administrators and educators about staff and student perceptions in the use of accessible instruction and positive behavior supports.
Using Results from Staff and Student Feedback Instruments
Educators can use feedback in multiple ways to improve educators' practices to ensure accessible instruction and positive behavior supports for all students. These approaches include the following:
Developing next steps and action plans based on the specific strengths and challenges revealed in the feedback
Engaging students or staff in the analysis of results to encourage more input and responsibility, and then allowing students or staff to suggest how educators can improve accessible instruction and positive behavior supports
Engaging students in a self-reflection process to understand how their behavior has an impact on the educator's use of accessible instruction or positive behavior supports and to determine how students can modify their own behavior to improve the teaching and learning environment
The following tools provide concrete strategies to help educators collect feedback from a diverse group of students in inclusive settings and to inform the larger picture of an educator's practice (staff feedback instruments are in the eighth section, Inclusive Practice: Administrator Evaluation).
Inclusive Practice Tool 6a: The Massachusetts Model Student Feedback Survey
The MA Model Student Feedback Survey was developed to obtain feedback from students on educator practice related to Standards I and II from the classroom teacher rubric (see MA Model Survey Grades 3-5
and MA Model Survey Grades 6-12
). This tool aligns items from the MA Model Survey with best practices in accessible instruction and positive behavior supports. This alignment will help educators target data analyses from Model Survey results to understand how students perceive accessible instruction and positive behavior supports in their classrooms.
Inclusive Practice Tool 6b: Adapted Items from the Massachusetts Model Student Feedback Survey
This tool contains simplified items adapted from the Massachusetts Model Student Feedback Survey. Although these items assess roughly the same content as the Model Survey, their use is intended for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Including all student populations in school-wide initiatives is an essential component of an inclusive school setting.
Inclusive Practice Tool 6c: Student Feedback Discussion Protocol
Student discussions provide an alternative to student surveys by tapping into aspects of accessible instruction and positive behavior supports that surveys may not capture. Through dialogue, students may provide rich and more descriptive information about particular aspects of the classroom experience. This tool includes student discussion questions that can be used with individual students or groups of students, as well as directions on what should be considered prior to administering the discussion protocols and how results can be used.
Inclusive Practice Tool 6d: Alternative Strategies to Obtain Student Feedback
This tool provides alternative strategies that educators can use to ensure that students are able to represent their feedback in multiple ways, depending on students' developmental needs or choice of expression. For example, teachers of early elementary students could gather feedback using the MA Model Grades K-2 Discussion Prompts
, or nurses could collect student input using exit slips gathered over the course of the year.
These alternative protocols are designed to meet the individual needs of an educator or a specific group of students and may or may not be administered district wide. Similar to more systematic survey results, feedback from alternative strategies can be used as evidence in the evaluation process and in conversations between educators and evaluators.
1 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2012). Asking students about teaching: Student perception surveys and their implementation;
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2012). Gathering feedback for teaching: Combining high-quality observations with student surveys and achievement gains.