Strategy

Student Inventory

Student Questionnaire, Student Survey, Student Interest Inventory

A student inventory is a series of questions used to gain a better understanding of a student’s learning preferences, academic and personal interests, as well as personal background. Inventories can be used with both students and their family members. The questions can be administered orally (e.g., teacher-student conference, parent meeting, etc.) or in written form (e.g., checklist, online survey, etc.). Teachers can use inventory results to make informed decisions with regards to instruction as well as a foundation for building meaningful relationships with students. By learning about personal aspects of a student's life outside of school, teachers are able to form deeper relationships with their students, thereby increasing motivation and engagement.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Progress Monitoring Tool

Data Tracking Sheet: Single Item Preference Tracking

A progress monitoring tool to track student responses to preferred and non-preferred items with a completed example.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Behavior & SEL · 2 pages


Student Inventory Tool

Preference Assessment Observation Sheet

A student inventory tool to track preferred and non-preferred items with a completed example.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages


Implementation Tips

When to Use
Implement Student Interest Inventories at any time of the school year. Many teachers use them on the first day of school or at the beginning of semester/quarter/trimester as a simple way to begin immediately building rapport with learners. This information can be used to develop lessons with multiple representations and provide more choices for student expression.
Types of Questions
Select questions that are age-appropriate and non-threatening to the student’s self-esteem. They can be chosen to gain information about preferences within specific areas (e.g, reading interests, subject preferences, learning styles, personal background, etc.). [[https://www.theartofed.com/content/uploads/2013/08/All-about-ME-Student-Interest-Inventory.pdf | Sample Inventory for an Art Class]]
Survey Forms
Use [[https://www.google.com/forms/about/|Google Forms]] to create an online inventory that will collect data for each individual student in one convenient location. Teachers can also print a paper copy of inventories created in Google Forms.
Multiple Types of Responses
Use emoticons rather than a numbered Likert scale for younger students to indicate preferences. Teachers can also ask students to draw their likes and dislikes or point to picture icons from a choice board. It is also helpful for parents/guardians of students of all ages to complete inventories, to gain a fuller perspective of the students' lives.

Examples

Building Rapport
To build rapport, teachers can complete their own inventories and share their responses with students. By doing so, teachers may find common interests with their students as well as have more honest inventory responses from them. To decrease risk, questions can range from [[http://www.niu.edu/eteams/pdf_s/VALUE_StudentInterestInventory.pdf | topical]] (i.e., low-risk, requiring little introspection) to [[http://mathman.dreamhosters.com/MathMan/pdfs/Ungame.pdf | in-depth]] (i.e., more personal, requiring more thoughtful responses). Recognize and connect students’ unique traditions, experiences, and interests by integrating them into lessons and activities throughout the school year.
Instructional Planning
Information gained from an inventory can be used to select activities or strategies that will target specific [[http://www.mcas.k12.in.us/page/4832|learning style preferences]] and address potential barriers in a lesson. For example, if a student has indicated on an inventory a strong dislike for reading but a high interest in comic books and a preference for kinesthetic learning--a teacher might opt for a superhero-related reading passage for a lesson on protagonists paired with a physical activity.
Intervention Strategies
An inventory may provide insight into a student’s personal background and how it may impact their academic life. This information can then help teachers employ more specific interventions. Although a teacher cannot assume that the student’s background is affecting their academic performance, the information provides context. For example, a student is not regularly completing online homework assignments and the inventory reveals that the learner does not have access to a computer or internet at home. This information may provide context that leads to providing the student with extra time in class to complete computer-based assignments.
Behavior Contracts
Information gained from a student inventory can be used to create a list of reinforcers specific to the student for their behavior contract. Behavior contracts are most effective when students are able to [[http://wordpress.oet.udel.edu/pbs/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Long-Reinforcement-Survey.pdf | self-select a reinforcer]] (e.g., food items, tangible rewards, free time activities, homework passes, etc.).
Self-Awareness
Teachers can use inventories as an opportunity for students to engage in a self-awareness activity. Students can answer questions to widely-used personality inventories (e.g., [[https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test | MBTI]], [[http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ | 5 Love Languages]], etc.) and assess which aspects of the results most apply to themselves. Learners can then suggest ways that teachers can use the information to most effectively communicate positive affirmations and constructive feedback. Additionally, teachers can have students share their results and reflections with their peers in order to foster and further build community within the classroom.

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