Go to Collaborative Learning Go to FLAG Home Go to Search
Go to Learning Through Technology Go to Site Map
Go to Who We Are
Go to College Level One Home
Go to Introduction Go to Assessment Primer Go to Matching CATs to Goals Go to Classroom Assessment Techniques Go To Tools Go to Resources

Go to CATs overview
Go to Attitude survey
Go to ConcepTests
Go to Concept mapping
Go to Conceptual diagnostic tests
Go to Interviews
Go to Mathematical thinking
Go to Performance assessment
Go to Portfolios
Go to Scoring rubrics
Go to Student assessment of learning gains (SALG)
Go to Weekly reports

Go to previous page

Classroom Assessment Techniques
Attitude Surveys

(Screen 2 of 6)
Go to next page

An attitudinal survey (also known as an affective survey) can provide information on student perceptions (emotions, feeling, attitudes) of their classroom experience. For example it can reveal perceptions on:

  • the content of a course
  • specific components of a course
  • course components which aid or are detrimental to learning
  • the effects of course innovations
Attitudinal surveys may also focus on students' needs in taking a course, how well those needs are met, student interest in or appreciation for the subject matter or field, student confidence in their ability to perform in a course, or their beliefs about the nature of the discipline itself, e.g.
  • the nature of a discipline (chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering)
  • the nature of learning within a discipline
  • their ability to learn within a course
  • useful strategies for learning within a course or discipline
  • their own learning style or preferences for learning

Figure 1: Sample statements from an attitudinal survey on students' learning:
  Please use the 7-point scale to indicate your agreement or disagreement with each statement.
Record all responses on your Scantron form.


SD D N A SA NA Don't Know
8 Often in lab I didn't understand the concept behind the lab experiment. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9 I like labs where I get to help design an experiment to answer a question. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10 This course provided opportunities for me to help design experiments to answer a question. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11 It was clear how the lab experiments fit into this course. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12 Doing labs in this class was like following a recipe in a cookbook. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
13 The lab manual for this course was well-written (easy to understand). 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  Assuming that all the following activities are equally well-implemented, I learn well by ... SD D N A SA NA Don't Know
33 doing homework assignments. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
34 using diagrams and other visual media. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
35 using computer-based materials. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
36 reading a (good) textbook. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
37 working with my lab partner. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
38 getting good help / tutorial aid. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
39 doing hands-on activities. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
40 listening to lecture. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
45 completing lab notebooks or lab reports. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
46 reading and re-reading materials. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  I know I understand when ...              
49 I can work problems in the book. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
50 I can apply ideas to new situations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
51 I get a good grade on an exam. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
52 I can explain the ideas to someone else. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
53 I can see how concepts relate to one another. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
SD = Strongly Disagree; D = Disagree; N = Neutral; A = Agree; SA = Strongly Agree; NA = Not Applicable

Assessment Purposes
Depending upon the questions asked, instructors can be provided with information about students' learning styles or preferences for ways of learning. This allows instructors to choose among instructional approaches that would best meet the needs of students. Instructors can also discover which components of their course contribute most significantly to students' learning.

General information on students' beliefs about the nature of science/ mathematics/ engineering is helpful in designing activities to foster a more realistic view of a discipline and what members of that discipline do. For example, students would be asked to express their agreement with the statement, "Science, as it is practiced in the real world, is objective and unbiased."

An added benefit of this type of survey is that students are prompted to reflect on their own learning preferences, strengths, or styles. This often helps students become better managers of their own learning and encourages them to engage in more fruitful activities.

While the questions or statements on an attitudinal survey may seem obvious, they are, in fact, the result of considerable work in both designing the question/statement so that it measures what it was intended to measure (called validity) and that it has reliability across students and groups. For these reasons, the outcomes from surveys that are written without checking their validity and reliability are often without meaning.

Additionally, for best results, students must be guaranteed anonymity. This means if the instructor analyzes the data, no student identification should be requested. You may ask for demographic information like gender, ethnicity, major, etc. and look for correlation across those variables. If you want to correlate student responses to their performance, you must have someone else gather and analyze the data, explicitly letting the students know you are doing so. Data analysis can be very time consuming in large classes unless you have optical scanning response forms and an optical reader, e.g. Scantron¨ forms and optical scanner. If these resources are present, data can be scanned and directly imported into a statistical analysis program or spreadsheet program for analysis. For small classes, you may provide additional space for students to elaborate on their ideas.

Go to previous page Go to next page

Tell me more about this technique:

Got to the top of the page.

Introduction || Assessment Primer || Matching Goals to CATs || CATs || Tools || Resources

Search || Who We Are || Site Map || Meet the CL-1 Team || WebMaster || Copyright || Download
College Level One (CL-1) Home || Collaborative Learning || FLAG || Learning Through Technology || NISE