Mr Kemp NZ

Being Evaluated by my Students – an Inspirational Experience

Yesterday I had an interesting experience. ….

I had just finished a great technology class with Year 7, learning about coding. A student and I were speaking about her learning and how she felt she wasn’t pushing herself enough. As a tool to encourage her to see the benefit of evaluation and forward thinking I asked her to go away and evaluate my teaching of the class.

I told her to provide me with feedback however she would like, the only rules are, be honest and give me some ‘feed-forward’.
So off she went with a smile on her face, ready to critically analyse her teacher.

This is what happened:

This girl asked her classmates for their feedback and surveyed them about the lesson on a scale of 1-5 on 5 different criteria, they were:
  • Enjoyable – was the lesson fun?
  • Challenge – Were you challenged in your learning?
  • Topic – Did you stay on topic?
  • Support – Did you give us the right level of support? (not too much talking, and not too much freedom)
  • Structure – Was the lesson structured well, did it have a clearly defined beginning, middle and end?
I was blown away! Incredible – what a criteria for a Year 7 student to come up with all on her own and in less than a few hours. She told me that she was collating data and will present it to me the following morning. She was really into this and I was impressed! 
It gave me a real insight into the way she thought and the feedback was a real eye opener into the critical thinking eye that our students hold. The feedback was valuable, my results after her survey were:
  • Enjoyable – 5/5
  • Challenge – 4/5
  • Topic – 3/5
  • Support – 5/5
  • Structure – 3.5/5
What amazing feedback and so honest. Then I turned the page over, and found the comments and next learning steps section followed by a ‘goal’ area.

Here is a small selection of the comments provided:
  • “I enjoyed today’s technology lesson and found code.org really challenging. Mr Kemp helped me when I was stuck and showed me the correct blocks to use, explaining why and how to use it. I like how he didn’t do it for me, but gave me the chance to do it myself. Unfortunately Mr Kemp likes to tell stories and at times I was distracted by them”.
  • “Mr K is an enjoyable teacher and I love his teaching style. I guess it helps that I am a technology guru and so is he. I always feel like an inventor or an entrepreneur when coding and I love that. I love having the freedom to code and challenge myself at my own pace”.
  • “Technology was fun today. I got stuck on the farmer level but was able to get through it myself after a lot of trial and error”.
  • “I worked with Mr Kemp on the puzzle “Stage 15, level 5″. We talked through how we could make it work. It turned into a whole class discussion. Eventually after some help from my classmates we figured out how to make the code function correctly”.
This feedback was great and some great truths from the students in my class. She also asked me to set a goal that I can work on to improve my classes from now on. I was so incredibly impressed with the structure she created and the feedback she was able to give me. When given opportunities students always amaze me!!! For those of you wondering, I discussed potential goals with her and she suggested that I might like to work on “continuing to tell engaging stories that are related to our topic of learning”. Another goal was to “continue supporting students in their learning, but give them another space to learn from their mistakes”.

Firstly, I was stoked that they felt comfortable to be honest and secondly I wondered how, as an educator, I can harness this power to make my teaching the best it can be.

It got me thinking that maybe student evaluation of teachers is a valuable component of any school evaluation programme. If students were given the opportunity to give their honest feedback about teachers then maybe the education system would be a more powerful thing. Maybe this would empower not only students but their teachers and parents as well. Would they feel more empowered as learners and push themselves above and beyond all expectations?

So many questions and so much thinking to do. I can see huge benefit in using student voice more actively as part of evaluation programmes within schools. 

How do you use student voice in evaluation within your school? How can this empower you and your students to improve and be the best you can be? 

About author View all posts Author website

Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

Have something to say?

10 CommentsLeave a comment


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Susanne Lowe says:

    Hey Craig,
    Enjoying your blog posts, have headed the link for this one to my staff, wondering how many will seek feed forward from their students. I like the questions for us to contemplate as a staff.
    Sus
    @purplesus


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Kenneth Durham says:

    Really appreciate the courage you modeled. I’ve been considering having teachers eveLuate me throughout the year. I believe that I’m going to give it a try this year as well. Just think about what I have to gain and the potential mutual trust we can foster.


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Beth Conlan says:

    I had student surveys as a getting to know you thing and was amazed at some of their feedback. Students are really in tune with teachers and in middle school are starting to realize what they need from teachers to learn. I like this idea and hopefully can work up the courage soon!


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Cheryl Doig says:

    Hallelujah! It is so good to see teaching as a work in progress. There is nothing as powerful as getting regular feedback and feedforward. Why would you wait until the end of the year to improve your practice. Or worse still never ask for feedback. The secret I think is to explicitly do something with the feedback so students can see that you are serious about being the best you can be. I am particularly interested in how you get feedback from the quieter students, the disenfranchised and the cultures that consider it inappropriate to give feedback to teachers.


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Anonymous says:

    Awesome! An enjoyable read. What a powerful learning experience for your students and valuable feedback for you.


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar Glenn Yetter says:

    Well done! Have asked my students to evaluate me using a ‘report card’ and have always found their comments both insightful and helpful. Have often used them as great discussion starters on how we all can learn and take more responsibility for our own learning.
    Like the idea of students creating the evaluation criteria.


  • Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263

    Warning: strlen() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/socialph/public_html/mrkempnz/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 3263
    Avatar bigpicsport says:

    Thanks for this. I totally agree. I ask University students for feedback by week 4 to ascertain what is working for their learning, what resources they are using and request their perspectives on what I and they can do better to enhance their experience of the course. They love it because their feedback has an effect on their learning (not the next group of students as happens with end-of-semester feedback) and I love it because I get a clear sense of what is working (so I can move forward with that) and any areas that need my attention. And it seems to make a huge difference to how positively many of the students approach the rest of their work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...