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How can I support instructors as they review feedback from students?

Programs:          ✅ Ascend          ⛔ Catalyze          ✅ Elevate

Systematically gathering student feedback may be a new practice for instructors. Below you’ll find common themes that surface for instructors implementing Ascend/Elevate, as well as suggestions to move forward.

All of these reactions are common and do not necessarily indicate a cause for alarm. Educators sharing their authentic reactions to the data is a good starting point, even if they aren’t initially curious about the data or ready for action. The reflection questions included are intended to help facilitators guide instructors towards constructive actions based on their initial reactions to the data. 


Sounds Like…

Helpful Context


Reflection Questions 


“I’m surprised by my student’s feedback.”

“I don’t feel like I have enough information to figure out what I should do next.”

Ascend/Elevate is not intended to be used as a research tool, but rather a tool for improvement. With that in mind, instructors should feel comfortable gathering additional context from students outside of the survey if they feel like they need more information to determine how to improve.

Your report is a starting point for deeper inquiry. Instructors can debrief with students to dig deeper.

What did you learn from your report that you didn’t know before?

What specific questions do you have for students?


“I don’t think students understood the questions.”

“The timing of the survey wasn’t right.”

“I think students were reacting to [insert recent event].”

Dissatisfaction with the survey results often underlies skepticism. 

Comprehension for younger students can be a real issue. For Elevate, check out this article titled: “How can I be sure students understand the Elevate questions?”

It may be challenging to hear what students are saying, but use the data you have as a starting point for improvement. You have much more insight now into what they may or may not be experiencing. 

How might you find out more about how students interpreted the questions?

What would you do differently next survey so that you can be more confident in the data?


“I don’t know how to interpret my results.”

“I don’t know if my results are good or bad.”

“I don’t know how my results compare to other teachers.”

Community reports show averages for groups of classes.

This article on “How do I use my report?” also provides additional context on considerations for educators as they review their reports. 

Your results are your starting point for improvement, they’re neither good or bad. Rather, they give you an idea of what your unique students are experiencing in your unique classroom.

What personal goal can you set for the year? 

What milestone can you reach in the next survey to know you’re making progress toward your goal?


“I’m overwhelmed by the data and I have no idea where to start.”

“I have too much going on to dig deep into my reports.’”

Instructors are able to see reports for all Communities that they are a member of, which can result in many reports. Therefore, we recommend encouraging instructors to narrow their scope in a few ways:

1. Select one class to focus on

2. Select one table in the report to focus on

Aim for continuous improvement, not perfection. Ascend/Elevate is designed to support small, incremental improvements over time. Consider the best starting point for you, your learning style, and your students.

Review the Student Experience Overview table:

What do you notice?

What are you curious about?

Disappointed / Discouraged

“I’m a bad teacher.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

The article on "Structures and Cultures that Support Improvement" for Ascend or Elevate may be supportive to maintaining buy-in.

Ascend/Elevate should not be used as an assessment on instructors' performance. Rather, it is an opportunity for instructors to gain insight into how students are experiencing their classroom environment and make adjustments. Taking the step to do that is already the signal of a great, caring educator.

What are my strengths? How can I tap them to improve learning conditions?


“What can I do to improve?”

“I already know what I want to try out to improve.”

The Ascend Practice Guides (higher ed) & Elevate Practice Guides (6-12) are designed to support instructors to begin their improvement journey.  

You’re modeling a strong improvement mindset! Let’s identify a goal, a practice change you’d like to try, and when you’ll survey next. 

What is your goal and time frame? 

What will you try out in your classroom to work towards your goal?

How will you share your plan with your students?

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