The two or three times that I’ve had to write a survey of some kind has proven to me that it’s hard. It’s difficult not to write leading questions, and it’s also difficult to know what are the priority questions you really want to ask.
But honestly, I’m a pretty good person to write surveys because I’m one of those people. If I bother to do the survey at all, I often get bored and don’t give quality answers. Sometimes, it’s laziness, but often, I’m annoyed by the questions. We were given an example of a question where it asked why something was outstanding (what if it wasn’t?), and I’ve seen those questions a lot. It’s leading and it’s hard to be honest with a question like that. That’s no excuse, though, and I really need to start completing surveys more because they are important. I’m really into people giving me feedback and I often don’t give it back to people (usually it’s because I don’t want to hurt their feelings…if they’re great, I’ll definitely tell them so). I suppose I need to work on giving people constructive feedback when they ask for it.
At any rate, I’m glad that we discussed assessment in regards to surveys. Like I said, despite my unwillingness to answer surveys, I do realize that they are important and are definitely an important part of formative assessment. Taking the example survey after Jane McGonigal’s talk was useful because it showed what could potentially be misleading or negative aspects about surveys. It was helpful to talk about how surveys/formative assessments connect to libraries because I was a bit confused about the connection beforehand. Because of that, I found it interesting when Kristin said how librarians are naturals at formative assessment because I never really thought about how I use formative assessment in my job. But looking back, I think in my own experience, the way I did this most frequently was by telling people if they couldn’t find what they were looking for, they should come back and I would do the best I could to help them again. Sometimes, I would inevitably not be able to help a patron, but they always said, “Oh, you were so helpful!” because they felt like they could approach me again.
I think the phrase that sort of wraps up what we talked about was “assessment of learning versus assessment for learning.” We’re largely still assessing the amount of learning a student achieves, instead of to learn. Things like self-reflection papers are incredibly useful because it aids the student in really looking back on what they learned and it also allows for teachers to give them feedback in something that isn’t an exam. (Which is invaluable, really.)
For whatever reason, this was a short post for me this week! (I think I made up for it in my reading post for this week, though!)