Even though it seems classes just started, it is time to prepare for mid-semester evaluations. Unlike evaluations at the end of the semester, mid-semester evaluations are great tools to provide feedback to the instructor in time for adjustments to be made. This semester, consider a SGID—Small Group Instructional Diagnosis. A SGID is a short, 20-minute formative assessment activity that involves having a trained facilitator meet with student focus groups to discuss what’s working, what needs improvement, possible changes to the course, and how students see they are meeting course learning objectives. 

The SGID model has been around for a while, and it continues to be an effective faculty development tool. Using student reflection, small focus group discussions, and feedback to the instructor, a SGID can enhance teaching effectiveness and lead to improved student learning. 

Steps in the SGID process include:

  1. Instructor and facilitator meet to establish a date/time, identify a focus for the activity, and generate questions to be explored
  1. On established date, facilitator comes to class (instructor steps out) and gets students into small groups
  1. Small groups are given predetermined questions to discuss
  1. Class reconvenes as a whole to share responses with facilitator who records them
  1. Instructor and facilitator meet after class to discuss responses and ways the feedback contributes to improvement planning strategies

Have you used a SGID in your courses? If so, share your experiences on Twitter at #MedEdPearls!

Want to know more?  Check out these resources:

WikiPODia: Small Group Instructional Diagnosis


Cohen, P.A. (1980). Effectiveness of Student-Rating Feedback for Improving College Instruction: A Meta-Analysis of FindingsResearch in Higher Education, 13(4), 321-341.

Bowden, D. (2004). Small Group Instructional Diagnosis: A Method for Enhancing Writing Instruction. WPA Writing Program Administration, 28(1-2), 115-135.

#MedEdPearls are developed monthly by the Central Group on Educational Affairs. Previously, #MedEdPearls explored topics including ACGME faculty development requirementspeer observation, and appreciative advising.


Author BIO

Jean Bailey, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.  She works with a variety of medical school faculty to provide training sessions focused on teaching and learning, scholarship, leadership, career advancement, and service.  Jean can be followed on Twitter or LinkedIn.