CASE STUDY
Enabling early career teachers to quickly understand their impact in the classroom

Sarah Montgomery

June 2021

An internationally leading Department of Education operates a professional learning institute that equips teachers with programs and tools to succeed. For early career teachers, the department provides specialty programs that offer support for the best possible start to their teaching career. 

The department identified that one of the greatest forms of feedback that an early career teacher can receive is from their students. They sought a method of seeking student feedback that would be simple to implement and easy to use for teachers within the program that are located throughout the state. This feedback would provide information about the impact of their teaching and areas for further development. 

Ziplet offered an easy-to-use option for the department to deploy to early career teachers in numerous schools.

The institute ran a structured training session for participants on how to gather student feedback, linking learning goals in particular as an area of focus of the feedback. The program initially ran across a term. 

Teachers asked six questions in the first two weeks to get baseline data.

  • How well do I explain the learning goals for each class? 
  • How challenging do you find the learning goals for each class? 
  • How comfortable do you feel contributing in class? 
  • What would help you contribute more in class?
  • What are you struggling to understand at the moment? 
  • What else can I do to better support your learning?

Teachers could then ask any other questions in the middle part of term to gather feedback in other areas, including using questions from Ziplet’s best practice library. 

They then ask the baseline questions again and assess progress at the end of term to see the shift.

In between time, teachers reviewed the feedback they had received and provided reflections on the themes they have observed from the feedback and changes they intend to make. They were supported to evaluate the feedback they were collecting, and loop back to students. 

I think it has helped me to think more about each student individually, which means I’m more focused on their needs and ideas. It also gives the students a say in how things operate inside the classroom, which they seemed to appreciate.

Results:

  • 98% of teachers gathered student feedback
  • 97% of students provided feedback to their teacher
  • 88% of teachers identified changes to their practice - and implemented these changes
  • 73% of students identified changes their teachers had made - after only one term

Early career teachers are now better able to understand the impact of their teaching in real time, and are able to make adjustments to their practice to better align with learning goals. 

As Gabriella, a teacher, noted:

I have made several changes to my lessons as a result of Ziplet. I have changed unit plans, changed the formats of assessment tasks for some students, and have ascertained areas of confusion for some students regarding set tasks. I am pleased with the changes I've made and so are the students.

Seeking continual feedback from students about their teaching and learning experiences reflects the Department’s values of aspiration and growth, by creating a culture which sets high expectations and continual improvement. Students appreciate the opportunity to provide authentic feedback through a different method than classroom discussions, as year 11 students noted:

My teacher has been able to identify what I need more explanations on, and it is easier to communicate through Ziplet without being embarrassed saying things in front of the whole group.
I think that Ziplet is a great way for students to be able to give open advice to their teachers without feeling uncomfortable. Ziplet has helped our classroom a lot.

Owing to the success of the initial program, the program now runs annually. The program provides a critical way for early career teachers to gather feedback from their students, and 1000s of teachers and students have benefited from the use of Ziplet to gather student feedback.


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