Academic Success Recap: Student Feedback Survey Questions

6 July 2021

ACADEMIC SUCCESS EXCHANGE

One of the most utilized features of Accudemia is the Survey feature. Its popularity is growing as more and more clients realize the value of collecting student feedback and doing so in the same system that tracks student visits. Even many clients who aren’t using Accudemia’s Surveys are still using some feedback system, whether it’s Survey Monkey, Qualtrix, Google Forms, or something else.

But deciding the best way to send a survey is one thing. Determining which questions to ask, and how and when to ask them, is another matter entirely. That’s why for this week’s Academic Success talk, we discussed survey questions, and how different centers are using survey systems and collecting feedback.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

  • While most survey systems allow you to ask pretty much any question you want in any format you choose, we recommend staying away from general questions or open text fields unless the question asks something specific. This can often lead to comments that are not helpful or suggestions that are not feasible, and since most students are only willing to spend so long on a survey, it wastes valuable time that they could be spending on more productive questions.
  • When possible, we also recommend using the Likert scale (a scale in which responders specify their level of agreement to a statement, typically in five points). These will be easier and quicker for students to answer and will make reporting on the responses much easier for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to change up the questions if you’re not getting responses. Alternatively, if you are getting a lot of responses, you might release a new survey partway through the term, or at the start of a new term. For example, at the beginning of the term, you may want to focus on learning about students’ goals or biggest concerns for the term. At midterms, you might switch to questions about how students feel about their progress, and then towards the end of the term, you might ask about what their availability and schedules look like in case you want to increase your hours for finals.
  • Consider your institution’s overall strategic plan. If you have been asked to gather responses to specific questions, that makes this easier on you. If not, consider reaching out to your Dean’s office or Institutional Research and seeing how you might develop questions that can show your center’s contribution to the overall college plan. This has a number of advantages. First, it allows you to align your center with and build goodwill with a department that has a big impact on your institution’s overall plans. Second, these questions are likely to be more thorough, designed by colleagues who have a great experience with surveys and feedback, and are more likely to give you data that can give you a strong insight into your center operations. In short, it can take some of the efforts off your plate!
  • Finally, while it may seem like a no-brainer, many attendees pointed out the value of asking questions related to the appointment that the student just participated in, whether it was tutoring, advising, or another service. Try to get them to take the survey or provide feedback as soon as possible after the session; if they don’t take it on their way out or shortly after, consider calling them to collect their input that way so that the session is fresh in their minds. Questions like, “Did your tutor greet you?”, “Did they explain concepts thoroughly?” and, “Would you request this tutor again?” might all give you useful information for building your schedules and providing feedback to your staff.

As with many aspects of higher education and student success centers, there isn’t a “right” answer for determining the best way to collect feedback. But we hope that this post has given you some ideas for crafting your survey strategy for your current or upcoming terms. Join us at our next weekly Accudemia session for more ideas about assisting students in academic support centers!

Engineerica Systems is pleased to present our Academic Success segment recap for 06/29/2021 for the weekly Accudemia sessions. We hope that these questions help you to ponder how you can ensure every student feels welcome in your center. Join us next Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. EST for our Weekly Accudemia Session and for more ideas about helping our students achieve success!

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