Student perceptions of their engagement and agency in learning.

### Use this measure:

Access a copy of the BMTN Tripod Survey Excerpt

### Measure of...

### Measurement instrument overview

The Tripod Survey is a widely used survey of students’ school experience. Five items from the Tripod Survey (referred to in this guide as the Tripod Survey Excerpt) are used by the Better Math Teaching Network (BMTN) to ask students about their perceptions of the extent to which teachers challenged students to try hard, think rigorously, and clarify their thinking. Students are asked to rate (from Totally True to Totally Untrue) the following items about their teacher:

- My teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort.
- My teacher wants me to explain my answers — why I think what I think.
- My teacher doesn’t let people give up when the work gets hard.
- My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize things.
- My teacher asks students to explain more about the answers they give

### Connection to student learning

The five items of the Tripod Survey Excerpt come from the Challenge category (p. 12) of Tripod’s 7Cs Framework for Effective Teaching. These items assess the level to which teachers press their students for rigorous thinking, quality work, and persistence. Tripod states that “teachers who challenge students insist that they persevere and do their best work. They hold students to high academic standards, encourage persistence, and monitor student effort.”ⁱ

^{i} Tripod Education Partners (2016). *Tripod’s 7Cs framework of effective teaching: A practical guide for improving teaching and learning*, 13.

### What we know about how well this measure works for its intended use

Many of the items of the Tripod Survey have been found to be reliable and correlated with classroom observation ratings and teacher value-added scores.ⁱⁱ

^{ii} Kuhfeld, M. (2017) When students grade their teachers: A validity analysis of the Tripod Student Survey. *Educational Assessment, 22*(4), 253–274, DOI: 10.1080/10627197.2017.1381555

Raudenbush, S. W., & Jean, M. (2015). To what extent do student perceptions of classroom quality predict teacher value added. *Designing teacher evaluation systems: New guidance from the measures of effective teaching project*, 170–202.

Wallace, T. L., Kelcey, B., & Ruzek, E. (2016). What can student perception surveys tell us about teaching? Empirically testing the underlying structure of the tripod student perception survey. *American Educational Research Journal*, *53*(6), 1834–1868.

### Frequency

The Tripod Survey Excerpt is quick to administer, so it can be easily given at whatever cadence is most useful to the teacher/school/district. Quarterly administration may be optimal to reduce survey fatigue and allow for variation in students’ perceptions of their teachers.

### Data analysis details

For each of the five prompts, there are five possible ratings that students can select: *Totally True*, *Mostly True*, *Somewhat True*, *Mostly Untrue*, or *Totally Untrue*. Consistent with prior research,^{iii} the BMTN focused on the percentage of students responding *Totally True* or *Mostly True* on each prompt at the end of each year and over time (as shown in the table below).

Thinking of this class… |
Totally or Mostly True |

My teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort. | 80% |

My teacher wants me to explain my answers — why I think what I think. | 82% |

My teacher doesn’t let people give up when the work gets hard. | 84% |

My teacher wants us to use our thinking skills, not just memorize things. | 84% |

My teacher asks students to explain more about the answers they give. | 83% |

^{iii} Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2012). *Asking students about teaching: Student perception surveys and their implementation* [Met Project Policy and Practice Brief.] http://youthtruthsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Asking_Students_Practitioner_Brief.pdf

### Conditions that support use

Tripod has created resources for teachers to use with these measures. The Guide to Tripod’s 7Cs Framework website includes resources and strategies for teachers using these survey measures.

The use of this student survey was supported by the BMTN in several ways:

- The network was led by math education researchers (and former math practitioners) who were trained in improvement science methods.
- BMTN developed common rubrics to assess student engagement across a continuum for the network’s three focal dimensions (connect, justify, and solve).
- Survey analysis, reporting, and visualization were owned by the network hub.

### Challenges

- The Tripod Survey Excerpt is a quick measure used to capture students’ perceptions of their engagement and agency in instruction. The data produced can be valuable to practitioners but does not give information about the context behind student responses.
- Teachers may find the data from this survey to be sensitive in nature and may be uncomfortable sharing their own data with others. A culture of transparency and safety would be essential to support reflection and shared learning.
- As with other practical measures, a teacher’s next steps may be unclear when some or all of the data show low student perceptions. These data should be used in a context in which teachers are supported in making sense of the data and have opportunities to learn what to do next

### Other tools and resources to support use

More information about the Better Math Teaching Network can be found at the organization’s website.

More information about the Tripod Survey can be found at the Tripod Education Partners website.

More information about the 7Cs of the Tripod Survey can be found in *Tripod’s 7Cs Framework of Effective Teaching: A Practical Guide for Improving Teaching and Learning*.

*Interviewee: Kirk Walters, BMTN Principal Investigator and Director of Mathematics at WestEd*

Other sources:

More information about the Tripod Survey can be found at the **Tripod Education Partners website**.

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