Classroom Critical Incidence Questionnaire

Classroom Critical Incidence Questionnaires (CIQs) are a method of obtaining feedback after a session and are particularly useful if you see a group of students several times. CIQ was developed by Dr Stephen D. Brookfield, from University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN. Further information can be found on Dr Stephen D. Brookfield’s website.

After each session, each student is given a questionnaire with five questions, not designed to establish what students liked or disliked about the activity, but to encourage them to reflect on the experience of learning, including inviting them to comment on the points during the class at which they felt most engaged, and least engaged, for example. The feedback is anonymous, but each student retains a copy of their form. The tutor then analyses each CIQ for common themes. To quote Dr Brookfield:

“I look for comments that indicate problems or confusions, particularly if they are caused by my actions. Anything contentious is highlighted, as is anything that needs further clarification. These comments become the basis for the questions and issues I address publicly the next time we’re together.”[1]

This communal approach assists with recognising issues, clarifying areas of confusion and encouraging students to think reflectively about what they are learning.


In the next section we look at some other suggestions for obtaining student feedback.


References for this page

[1] Brookfield, S. D. 1995. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 116. (The author’s own version of the relevant chapter on Classroom Critical Incidence Questionnaires, accessed 18 December 2017, can be viewed online.)