Best Practices: Creating a ‘plus/delta’ assessment activity


This is a quick formative survey where you can quickly understand what is working well in your class (plus) and what your students would like to change (delta).

Why?: It’s an easy way to understand students' reactions to the course. It also gives students a voice in the learning process, which can lead to increased motivation and participation. It is critical to share the results back with the class in a timely manner as this step will greatly impact motivation as well as culture of evaluation and positive criticism.

Time: About 5 minutes in-class or online.

Materials: This survey can be done in-class with paper or online. Our recommendation is facilitating this online with NYU Qualtrics for quicker analysis and ability to share the data in a timely manner. The below instructions will walk-through the steps to create this example.

Getting started: Determine the frequency you’d like to distribute this survey. Depending on your course structure you may want to do this after each class, week, or unit. Let your students know that you will be sharing the data back and you’re looking for their honest feedback to help shape the flow of the course.


Creating survey

  1. Log into NYU Qualtrics (NYU Home > Research > Qualtrics). Create a new survey with the following elements: one text/graphic box and two text entry (multi-line) questions. Feel free to use this template. If you would like a copy of this example survey added to your Qualtrics account, please email
  2. Save and launch your survey. Share the anonymous link with your students.

Generating report (example)

  1. Once students have submitted their responses, log into NYU Qualtrics and click on the desired survey title within the ‘My Surveys’ tab
  2. Next, navigate to the ‘Report’ tab within the top bar
  3. Select the green ‘Create new report’ button in the upper left corner Next you will see a ‘Create New Report’ screen. It will already be filled in with the information you need from the desired survey to generate a report. Click the green ‘create’ button.

  4. Within the ‘Generate Report’ window, you will see five choices for a possible report as well as the selected questions to be included. The choices pre-selected for you are appropriate for this report. Select ‘generate’ report
  5. You will now see each question on its own page, along with the student responses. To add the word count cloud to the report, click on ‘New Graph.’ After clicking this button, you will see a blank text box appear and then within a few seconds the word count will automatically appear. That’s it!

  6. To share this report, click on the ‘share’ drop down menu. You may either publish the survey to the web (example), or export as a PDF, Powerpoint, or Microsoft Word Document.


  1. If you’d like, you can also add questions that ask the student to reflect on the quality of their own learning process in addition to providing their feedback about the instructor or the course structure. Additional questions could be:
    1. Positive actions by you [the student] that you feel help you learn
    2. Changes you would like to make for yourself to help you learn
2. You can easily create a new survey from an existing copy in Qualtrics.
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