Assessment Method: Group Instructional Feedback Technique (GIFT)
Overview: This technique has many derivations and goes by many names. It was directly adapted from the small-group instructional diagnosis evaluation method (SGID). The purpose of the GIFT is to collect targeted student feedback on instruction. This feedback provides the instructor with invaluable information which can be used to make modifications to curriculum, pacing, instructional strategies, and assessment practices.
There are three main inquires involved in eliciting student responses:
- What works?
- What doesn’t work?
- What can be done to improve?
These questions are most effective when they are thoughtfully created by the instructor to match both the content of the course and the purpose of the evaluation overall. Angelo and Cross (1993) provide the following examples from a first-year organic chemistry class:
- Give one or two example of specific things your instructor does that really help you learn organic chemistry.
- Give one or two example of specific things your instructor does that make it more difficult for you to learn organic chemistry.
- Suggest one or two specific, practical changes your instructor could make that would help you improve your learning in this class. (p.335)
Procedure: An instructor may administer the GIFT independently or in collaboration with a trusted colleague. It is important to select a colleague that you feel comfortable with and trust to assist you with the process. When choosing to collaborate, it is best to meet with your colleague well ahead of the time to discuss the logistics of asking the questions, collecting the feedback, and communicating the results. In the scenario provided in Angelo and Cross, (1993) a chemistry professor invites a physics professor into his classroom to assist in administering the GIFT. The chemistry professor tells his class what is going to happen and leaves the room. The physics professor comes in and instructs the students that they will have approximately 5 minutes to respond to the questions on index cards. Once the students have responded individually the physics professor instructs the students to discuss their answers with two or three peers. This process allows students to reflect on the ways they learn best and allows an opportunity to hear other opinions and perspectives about the course. Following the small-group discussions the physics professor requested some common themes throughout the room. These were written on the board and poles were taken by show of hands on who agreed with the statements. Rough estimates of the percentage of students responding were taken for each question.
This is but one example of a variety of ways in which this technique may be administered. Instructors can modify the GIFT to meet their unique needs. For example, an instructor may choose to only have students respond to one question. Or, an instructor may choose to leave out the small-group discussion portion when administering the GIFT independently. Other modifications would likely need to be made when independently administered to ensure student anonymity.
** A quick and easy adaptation of this would be to use surveymonkey.com and pose three open ended questions.
Angelo, T. A. & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Joey Bass.