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ERIC Number: EJ1069099
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0272-4316
Seven Survey Sins
Gehlbach, Hunter
Journal of Early Adolescence, v35 n5-6 p883-897 Jun-Aug 2015
As pressure builds to assess students, teachers, and schools, educational practitioners and policy makers are increasingly looking toward student perception surveys as a promising means to collect high-quality, useful data. For instance, the widely cited Measures of Effective Teaching study lists student perception surveys as one of the three key measures of teachers' efficacy and describes these measures as a source of potentially valuable feedback for teachers (Cantrell & Kane, 2013). When one factors in the low cost with their prospective utility in assessing teachers and fostering teaching effectiveness, it seems clear that surveying students will increase dramatically in the coming years. Within this context, researchers who survey early adolescents must navigate the confluence of three tensions. First, responding to survey items requires an array of cognitive skills that early adolescents are still mastering (Downer, Stuhlman, Schweig, Martínez, & Ruzek, 2014). Second, unlike national, public opinion surveys, school-based surveys need to provide accurate data for small samples. For instance, a middle school teacher may have 100 students divided between her sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade science classes; an elementary school teacher may only have 20 students total. Third, for the full promise of surveys to be realized as a tool for improving schools, the survey scales need to be practitioner friendly: short, easy to administer, and straightforward to interpret (Hamre & Cappella, 2015, Kosovich, Hulleman, Barron, & Getty, 2014). In most cases, it should be relatively straightforward to adhere to the scientifically grounded best practices described in this article. In the coming years, surveys administered to early adolescents are likely to proliferate. Thus, there is an urgent need for research on the best approaches to designing surveys for this unique and important population to keep pace. In the meantime, the sins described here and the ideas for redressing them provide researchers with some low-cost approaches to improving their measures in most situations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A