Listening to the most important people in the room: How can student feedback surveys improve secondary teachers' practices?

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Student voice, or student role in decision making processes in schools, has emerged in the 21st Century as a potential strategy for improving the success of school reform efforts.

In Australia, particularly in Victoria which declares itself as the Education State, where everyone has the same opportunities for a great education (see Ministerial forward in VicSRC, 2016), schools are expected to incorporate student voice initiatives so students actively shape their own education (DET Victoria, 2017). Yet, little is known about the actual impact of student feedback surveys as a student voice initiative on educators’ practices.

While Australian schools are encouraged to enhance practices of feedback and states employ climate feedback surveys such as the Attitudes to School Survey (DET Victoria, 2019) to understand students’ overall experiences, little is known about the use of one-on-one student feedback surveys to assess and improve teaching. This study is timely in identifying ways that can help teachers act upon their students’ feedback surveys and improve their experiences in the classroom. Specifically, it intends to investigate how student feedback survey data could be used to enhance teachers’ practices rather than simply assessing them in Victorian secondary schools.