Small Group Instructional Diagnosis

What is a SGID?

Small-Group Instructional Diagnosis is a structured interview process offered midway through a term to ask groups of students to identify:

  1. issues that are helpful to their learning
  2. improvements that could be made in a particular course

Using open-ended questions, students are encouraged to create constructive feedback in small groups and then in a full-class discussion, facilitated by a trained Peer Consultant or Center for Faculty Development colleague. Discussions and results are kept confidential between the instructor and the facilitator.

How does a SGID work?

The process involves four steps:

  1. The instructor and SGID facilitator meet to discuss the course and goals for the feedback session
  2. The SGID facilitator conducts a classroom interview with students, typically requiring 25-35 minutes of class time, depending on class size
  3. A follow-up meeting to review the students' feedback and discuss strategies for responding
  4. In-class follow-up with students to address the perceptions and concerns expressed in their feedback, in which the instructor also addresses how and why s/he will or will not make specific changes

When is a SGID appropriate?

The most important factor in ensuring that a SGID is successful is that you need to be committed to making adjustments to your course to facilitate student learning.

SGIDs may be appropriate when one or more of the following is true:

  • You aren't sure where or how you should focus your attention in a class, but feel there is room for improvement
  • You express a desire or need to understand student opinions about your course in general or about specific classroom issues
  • You want a method to capture student feedback that does not rely solely on pencil-and-paper rating forms
  • You hope that the process will increase your own or your students' motivation

What are the advantages of a SGID?

SGIDs have several key advantages:

  • Students feel their voices have been heard. Students often feel powerless, and are more willing to work with a professor if they believe their needs are of concern to that professor. The SGID process by itself seems to have beneficial effects, even before the faculty member makes changes based on the feedback.
  • It brings back into the group those students with extremely divergent views. Students often feel that everyone else shares their opinions of events that have occurred in class; when they state their concerns to their small group, they may find out that others have interpreted events quite differently.
  • Because the group must agree on a statement to be forwarded to the professor, the anonymity of individual students is protected.
  • Because SGIDs provide more reflective feedback, the information is qualitatively different than that received in end-of-semester ratings.

Who do I contact to arrange a SGID?

If you'd like a colleague from the Center or a Peer Consultant to conduct a SGID for you in one of your classes, please contact the Center for Faculty Development at, and we will make the arrangements.

Please remember to allow time to organize the SGID, and bear in mind that contacting us early in the quarter makes it more likely that facilitators will be available at the right time.