Techniques for Assessing Learner Reactions to Instruction
There are numerous Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) that allow us to assess learner reactions to teachers and teaching. Many have been outlined by Angelo and Cross (1993) and they include the use of Chain Notes, Classroom Assessment Quality Circles, Electronic Mail Feedback, Teacher Designed Feedback Forms, and Group Instructional Feedback Techniques. These techniques are designed to help faculty think about alternate ways to collect useful data that may allow them reflect on the questions that they have about their teaching, the syllabus, related course materials, and the current feeling about the course. While all of these techniques have their own merits, I will explain the Group Instructional Feedback Technique (GIFT) since it is so widely used at SIUE.

How to Gather G.I.F.T. Information
1. Arrange to work with a faculty colleague or faculty development specialist whom you trust.
2. Schedule a date and time for your partner to interview your class.
    When working with a faculty colleague, try to agree to trade visits to each other's classes.
3. Schedule two meetings with your partner, one before the visit for about 20 minutes and one for after the visit for
    about an hour.
     During the first meeting, review the interview procedure.  Provide questions, a script, or other suggestions of what you'd like to find
     out about your students' learning (not your teaching--this is assessment of learning and not evaluation of teaching).  During the second
     meeting discuss the results.  It's wise for your partner to prepare a written digest of the interview prior to this second meeting.
4. On the day of the class visit, introduce your partner and then leave.
      You should prepare your class ahead of time by telling them that you wish to improve their learning activities and environment by
      gathering information about what helps them learn and why.  Ask them if they will agree to be interviewed by a trusted professor,
      one who is just as interested in quality learning just as you are and whom you will instruct in their presence to maintain confidentiality
      when transmitting the results to you.  Let them know approximately when you will discuss the results with them.  Well organized visits
      normally take about 30 minutes.  Your partner should put the class into groups of 4-5 students and ask the groups to respond to the
      interview questions by offering their one or two most important answers.  This filtering activity prevents assertive, vocal students from
5. After the visit, read your partner's written summary, discuss what teaching approaches and techniques address the students'
    concerns, develop a plan for responding, and communicate with your class what that plan is working.
     Your partner can help by looking for trends and by assembling responses or quoted comments under group headings.  Consult with
      your partner and prepare a thoughtful plan of action so that students will see that their consultation is being taken seriously and are willing
     to invest in it.  When you trade positions and visit your partner's class, maintain the trust of confidentiality and present the assessment as
     rounded criticism.  That is, be sure to include questions that reveal positive learning experiences ("What approaches allowed you to
     discover that you really learned the material well?"), and not only negative ones.

To learn more about this technique or to set up an appointment to have the technique administered, contact

Last updated on August 30, 2000.