Quick Student Survey Results on Serial

Some people have emailed me asking about the students’ reaction to Serial as a unit in my English class. Although I haven’t yet completely digested all of this information and reflected on the entire experience, I’d thought I’d post some raw data from a survey I gave them this morning.

I’ll offer some more specific reflections on the unit as a whole this weekend.

Some quick notes on the survey: 
1. They were polled before they listened to the season finale.
2. They took the survey on a Google form, completely unanimously, on a relatively private computer.

Some quick take-aways (for me):
1. Only 5% of the students marked “I don’t care” to the question about “Who did it?” That’s pretty amazing considering the reputation that teens have for their apathy. For purposes of comparison, I asked them to guess (or know) how many games our boys’ basketball team won last year, and 45% marked “I couldn’t care less.”

2. Only 4% said they “didn’t like” this podcast — this coming from a community of students who are very willing to complain about the book they’re being forced to read.

3. They seem like they’re being pretty honest. Most of the them admitted to spacing out here and there, and many of them said they were “more apt to listen to podcast after this (but probably wouldn’t).”

Which text would you rather study?

Serial 99 83%
A play by Shakespeare 2 2%
Poetry 3 3%
A short novel 12 10%
A non-fiction essay or article 3 3%

How often did you drift off while listening to Serial?

A lot. I spaced out all the time. 7 6%
Maybe once or twice an episode. 18 15%
Once or twice during a boring episode. 72 61%
I barely missed a word. 20 17%

Are you more apt to listen to other podcasts now that you’ve heard Serial?

No, I didn’t really like this one. 5 4%
Yes, but I probably won’t 54 45%
Yes, and I probably will. 52 44%
I already have started listening to other ones. 6 5%

Who did it?

Adnan, like Jay says. 14 12%
Jay, with help from Adnan 17 14%
Jay and Adnan, with help from a 3rd person. 20 17%
Don. 5 4%
I have no idea. 22 18%
I don’t care. 6 5%
Somebody we don’t know (like a serial killer) 6 5%
Stephanie, with Jay’s help 17 14%
Other 11 9%

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