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ERIC Number: ED567735
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Getting Teachers Excited about Student Feedback: It's All in the Ask
Robinson, Carly; Finefter-Rosenblum, Ilana; Benshoof, Christopher; Gehlbach, Hunter
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Until recently, asking K-12 students--who spend hundreds of hours with their teachers annually--to weigh in on their teachers' performance was considered taboo. Many have questioned students' capacities to provide reliable, fair feedback on teaching quality. Media outlets report that teacher unions staunchly oppose integrating student feedback in teacher evaluations (Cromidas, 2012; Decker, 2012). If teachers consider student perception surveys to be unfair, not useful, and biased, they are unlikely to incorporate the feedback into their practice. However, if they can be nudged towards keeping an open-mind to student input, this type of feedback holds great promise given that it can be collected cheaply, quickly, and regularly. One way to shift teachers' beliefs about student feedback is to invoke cognitive dissonance about the topic. Cognitive dissonance theory states that people strive for internal consistency and feel discomfort when holding contradictory, or dissonant, beliefs at the same time. Thus, in an effort to reduce or eliminate the dissonance, an individual may change one or more of the beliefs involved in the dissonance (Festinger, 1962). Moreover, research has shown that the motivating influence of cognitive dissonance can promote changes in attitude and behavior (Dickerson, Thibodeau, Aronson, & Miller, 2003). If inducing cognitive dissonance can bolster the extent to which teachers' remain open to student perception surveys, major implications follow for how schools introduce and contextualize the practice of using student feedback for teacher evaluations. Through a modest intervention that leverages the power of cognitive dissonance, the authors found that teachers' attitudes towards student perception surveys are malleable. Specifically, how one asks teachers about this issue may nudge their opinions in a positive direction. Thus, it appears that the context for approaching evaluation matters. If everyone in a school is receiving feedback from one another, evaluation may become a cultural norm and teachers are likely to be more open to student perception surveys. This has big implications for how principals and districts may want to introduce the practice of student perception surveys. Tables and figures are appended. [SREE documents are structured abstracts of SREE conference symposium, panel, and paper or poster submissions.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)