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Small Group Instructional Feedback (SGIF)

The student Small Group Instructional Feedback (abbreviated as SGIF) is a formative mid-course check-in process requested by faculty individuals for gathering information from students on their learning experiences. This process is designed for faculty to foster dialogue between students and instructors, reflect on successes, and identify areas for improvement within their courses. It is not related to any evaluation. 


In 1974, Dr. Joseph Clark, a professor of biology at the University of Washington conducted the midterm student feedback (MSF) for the first time. Then he and his colleague conducted foundational research and introduced this technique broadly (Clark & Redmond, 1982). Their goal was to create and test a content-rich approach to the diagnostic assessment of courses that yielded more abundant qualitative feedback for the instruction than end-of-semester questionnaires and was more practical and time-efficient than in-depth observation and analysis were done by instructional consultants. Occurring at the midpoint of a course, the SGIF informs students and the instructor about what is and what is not working while time still remains for adjustments.   

How it works

SGIF is a systematic procedure for collecting data about the student experience in a given course (Nyquist & Wulff, 2011, p. 51). At DKU, it usually takes place from Week 3 through Week 5 for undergraduate courses and Week 7 for graduate courses. It follows the procedure below:  

Prior to SGIF – an instructor initiates the request by filling in the sign-up form and communicates with CTL to propose specific areas they want to know, in addition to the following standard prompts: 

  • What do you like about this course?/What has contributed to your learning?
  • What do you think about the course in terms of the following specifics? Why?  
    • Workload
    • Assignments
    • Feedback
    • Difficulty level
  • What suggestions do you have for making improvements?/Anything you wish to learn or improve for the rest of the course?


During SGIF – two CTL staff come to the classroom as scheduled, taking about 15 minutes of the class time for the SGIF session.

  • CTL facilitates student discussions in groups without the instructor’s presence. 
  • CTL gathers student group consensus by clarifying students’ feedback and suggestions. 


After SGIF – within one week (usually the next day), CTL debriefs with the instructor, taking about 30 minutes. 

  • CTL synthesizes and summarizes student feedback in writing and schedules a meeting to debrief with the instructor offering CTL’s recommendations.  
  • The instructor discusses and acts on the feedback in class with students to recognize students’ comments, address some concerns, and clarify miscommunication or misunderstanding of expectations. 


Near the end of each term – CTL writes an aggregated summary report to share at a T&L at Lunch session without identifying courses and faculty names. Keeping it confidential is our promise to the faculty who requests the SGIF session, but if the individual faculty wants, they are free to share our individual debriefing report with the chair or put it in their annual report, faculty dossier, or teaching portfolio. 

What faculty say about SGIF

“Within the 7-week structure, it is important to have a quick turnaround through SGIF, in terms of identifying student concerns and making adjustments if necessary…It is helpful for instructors to have a conversation with students, according to their perception of learning experience and expectations. SGIF indeed helps faculty realize that students would find certain small strategies or exercises useful while the instructors think it is a minor effort.” 

Feel free to contact for more information or if any questions.