Class Survey – My New 4th Grade Class

I decided to do this quick assessment piece with my students this year to get a sense of what resources they have, (I asked the blogging question because we will be blogging this year again and wondered if anyone knew about them), and their general knowledge of surroundings. These are 4th grade students most are 9 years old or about to be. 18 of 24 are second language learners, 90% receive free lunch. Here are the questions and results. How would your students do?


1) Do you have internet at home right now?   YES – 13          NO – 11

2) Do you have your own cell phone?  YES – 4          NO – 20

3) Do you have your own email account?    YES – 4        NO – 20

4) Do you blog?     YES – 0          NO – 24

5) Do you have a Facebook, Bebo, or Myspace account?

YES – 4      NO – 20 (I’ll be questioning these 4 students.)

6) What city do you live in?   Out of 24 students 9 had the correct answer, 5 said they didn’t know, 10 had incorrect answers.

7) What state do you live in?   12 correct answers (so half of class)

8/ What country do you live in?  3 correct answers

9) Where were you born?  Have to find out if their answers are correct or not. 1 student said they didn’t know.

10) What is your address?   7 students knew their address out of 24.

11) Home phone number? 4 correct, 7 students don’t have a land line phone at home, 13  didn’t know.

12) Name as many other cities in Nevada as you can. Answers mostly all over, 1 student named 10 cities in Nevada.

Our social studies curriculum is learning about our state so the next time we take this evaluation there will be big changes.

Learning is messy!

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7 Responses to Class Survey – My New 4th Grade Class

  1. Jim Gates says:

    Brian,

    I’m at a loss to understand why they wouldn’t know what country they lived in. Do you have any insight into why that is? Even not knowing what city they live in is.. hard to imagine.

    When you understand how little they know of the world around them it sure makes your job all the more important, doesn’t it? Did you come away from that with a feeling of .. not pressure, but… urgency, maybe?

  2. Greg Stevens says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. Brave of you in a way since we sometimes are measured as teachers by what our kids know. Wondering how many of your students are continuing from third grade at your school. Former teachers might have some insight on whether info is forgotten or never exposed. Maybe your class could practice the Pledge of Allegiance a few times to help everyone learn the name of the country they live in. Best wishes on the new school year.

  3. Lisa Parisi says:

    I’m not surprised but I am dismayed by the results. The tech results would be the same in my upper middle class area, where children start and end in the same school district. But my students do know where they live.

    I can only imagine how difficult it would be to learn where you live when you move around so frequently. And if you keep coming into a new school after the geography unit, how would you learn the names of neighboring cities, states, etc? Perhaps we need to incorporate that information constantly so we reach all the students over and over again, as they move around.

  4. Doug Noon says:

    This is a good survey. I’m adapting it for my sixth graders and passing it around to them very soon.

    I’m not totally surprised about the geography gap. In fourth grade, a few years ago, one of my students listed Pluto as one of the seven continents!

    24 students this year?

  5. Brian says:

    Jim: I wish I had given this same survey to my last class when they were in 4th grade. I know that they were in just about the same place because of a project we do where they share where they live, where they were born, etc. and that they had the same issues. Why? I’m not sure of all the answers here, I wish I was, but one is they are familiar with the names of all these places, they just aren’t sure which is which. Where they live is the neighborhood around our school … they don’t hear it referred to by it’s name very often. I talked to a few of our third grade teachers and they were aghast since they spend a fair amount of time covering just this material. I think it shows that covering material at school isn’t the same as experiencing it yourself … hearing and speaking the name of your city as part of what you do in your own day to day living as opposed to learning it in class only. I also think it points out the limitations of testing. The students knew all the names, the survey I gave them wasn’t multiple choice, they just had to know. We did go over the questions together so that I read them aloud and we did them one at a time … but I gave them no clues at all. Phone number-wise I did specifically ask about their home phone, not a cell phone or I probably would have gotten some more answers to that one. We’ve had several discussions about the survey and a few other teachers are going to give it … my wife gave it to her class (very high income school) and they knew pretty much all the answers. Another piece of the disconnect I’m afraid for our neediest students.

    Greg, I wasn’t very brave … it was the second day of school, I don’t think anyone could successfully claim that I had done a poor job teaching them these topics or facts. However I will give them this survey again later in the year as a kind of post assessment … we’ll see how they do then. : )

    Lisa – true and what if in the primary grades’ teachers are under extreme pressure to only work on reading and math? Our primary grades only cover social studies and science as part of the reading program when they can stray from “the program” or it just happens to come up … not going to be very local in nature where the kids might learn about their actual own neighborhood. I remember in Kindergarten several walking field trips where we learned about what was there and we talked to the mailman and a baker and noted the different jobs people had. Not happening now.

    Doug, 24 students when I wrote this … 25 now, our 5th and 6th are 30+ each. Will be interested in hearing the results from your survey although I know that my sixth graders last year would have done very well. I think I might just have to do this survey each year from now on. I was talking to my wife about what “general information” questions we should perhaps ask our students each year beyond the ones I asked here. What else don’t they understand that is almost dangerous – I mentioned to my class that I was worried about many of them if they ever got lost or separated from their parents especially far away from home if they couldn’t tell anyone what city they lived in or a phone number. I think I made my point. Several came up the next days and told me what city they lived in and that they knew their phone number now … of course my students’ phone numbers change often … one of the ugly effects of poverty is that for some your phone gets disconnected several times a year. Just ask my school secretary about how often numbers aren’t current and how often she has to make changes to the phone number data base.

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