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Classroom Assessment Techniques
Attitude Surveys

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Theory and Research
Research has found that effective teachers share several characteristics (Angleo & Cross, 1993; Davis, 1993; Reynolds, 1992; Murray, 1991; Shulman, 1990). Two of these characteristics are particularly relevant:

  • Effective teachers use frequent assessment and feedback to regularly evaluate what they do in the classroom and whether their students are really learning.
  • Effective teachers try to anticipate the concepts that will be difficult for their students and to develop teaching strategies that present these concepts in ways that make them more accessible to students. This requires becoming familiar with students' preparation, knowledge, and abilities as well as adjusting teaching strategies to maximize the class's learning.
There is substantial research which concludes that administering surveys to students can be both valid and reliable, providing a wealth of knowledge about the attitudes, behavior and values of students (Hinton, 1993). The attitudinal survey discussed here provides one method for obtaining valuable information about classroom components, teaching strategies, usefulness of instructional materials, organization, pacing, or workload. This information can then be used to engage in the practices that improve teaching effectiveness.

Additional information on how to design, administer, and interpret your own surveys can be found in Theall & Franklin (1990), Davis (1993), and Braskamp and Ory (1994).


  • Maryland Physics Expectation (MPEX) survey
    web URL: http://http://www.physics.umd.edu/rgroups/

  • Dunn Learning Styles - The instrument assesses five different stimuli: environmental, emotional, sociological, physical, and psychological. Within each of these stimuli are a total of about 20 elements which individuals receive feedback on. A number of faculty have reported success with this instrument and the information it provides about students' learning styles.

Angelo, T. A., and Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Braskamp, L. and Ory, J. (1994). Assessing Faculty Work: Enhancing individual and institutional Performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Centra, J. A. (1973). Effectiveness of Student Feedback in modifying college instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology 65 (3), 395-401.

Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Fowler, F. J. (1993). Survey research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Gramson, Z. and Chickering, A. (1977). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39, 5-10.

Henderson, M. E., Morris, L. L., & Firz-Gibbon, C. T. (1987). How to measure attitudes. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Murray, H. G. (1991). Effective teaching behaviors in the college classroom. In J. C. Smart (ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, Vol. 7 (pp. 135-172). New York: Agathon.

National Research Council (1997). Science teaching reconsidered: A handbook. Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press.

Reynolds, A. (1992). What is competent beginning teaching? A review of the literature. Rev. Educ. Res. 62, 1-35.

Shulman, L. S. (1990). Aristotle had it right: On knowledge and pedagogy (Occasional paper no.4). East Lansing, MI: The Holmes Group.

Shulman, L. S. (1991). Ways of seeing, ways of knowing - ways of teaching, ways of learning about teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 23, (5) 393-395.

Theall, M. and J. Franklin, Eds. (1990). Student ratings of instruction: Issues for improving practice. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 43. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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