Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)

The small-group instructional diagnosis (SGID), is a technique used to elicit feedback from students during a course using a trained facilitator.

If you are interested in becoming a facilitator or implementing this technique in your course, please contact the Brown Center.

The process

Step 1: Consultation with facilitator
You will meet with your facilitator briefly.  The facilitator will describe the process to you and set a time for you to discuss the results.  This is also a good time to indicate if there are any particular aspects of the class you’d like addressed.

Step 2: Prepare your students
Tell your class that you have invited the facilitator to get anonymous feedback about the class.  Be sure they know that you will not be in class and that the time will be devoted to soliciting their feedback.  It also helps to ask them to be honest because you plan to use the feedback to improve their experience.

Step 3: Small Group In-class feedback
The facilitator will break the class into small (3-6) groups.  In the groups they will develop consensus answers to the following questions.

  1. What components of this course support your learning?
  2. What components of this course hinder your learning?
  3. What can the instructor do to improve your learning in the course?
  4. What can you do to improve your learning in the course?

The facilitator will guide the entire classroom in a discussion of each of the questions, to develop a consensus response from the entire class.

Step 4: Consultation with facilitator
You will meet with your facilitator to discuss the summary report of the feedback they have prepared for you.  The facilitator will be able to suggest potential strategies to address any issues that arise.

Step 5: Closing the loop
Briefly discuss the feedback with your students as soon as possible. Let them know what you will do to address the feedback.  Also let them know what you will not do.

Why do it?

The SGID provides confidential and anonymous feedback about how students perceive the course and instructor.  This technique will let you know of potential issues while you still have time to address them (before the end of course evaluations).  This will also give students an opportunity to practice providing constructive feedback on a course.

  • Students will often provide more honest feedback to a neutral third party than they will to their instructor.
  • The consensus process ensures that the feedback is representative of the class and not one or two students.
  • The questions focus the students feedback on what helps their learning NOT teacher behaviors.
  • You will need to give up a class period.
  • Inviting a stranger into a classroom can be awkward.
  • The feedback may be uncomfortable to hear.