School climate is an important topic in education. Research has indicated that the climate of a school has a profound impact on staff and student engagement, and is a factor in the overall achievement of students in and outside of the classroom. Changing or maintaining the climate of a school cannot be done well without a well-developed plan based on strong and reliable data. School Perceptions, LLC has developed a proprietary survey system to meet this need.
School Perceptions has developed surveys to gauge parent, student or staff engagement. Each school climate survey measures key areas, or indexes of engagement. A selection of carefully crafted and researched questions are used to compile an average index score. This score can be compared to other school districts of similar size, socio-economic status and geographic location.
Participants access the survey using an email link or survey code, and it can be completed at the user’s convenience. The format of the survey is intuitive and easy to navigate on any computer, tablet or mobile device. Each code or link can be used only once, ensuring the integrity of the data collected.
Users can take their survey all at once, or stop the survey and return later. The software stores data as it goes, and will always pick up where the user left off. Respondents can move back and forth throughout the questions, and answers can be changed until a user has indicated they are finished with the survey.
Once completed, survey results are tabulated and reported by index as well as by question. Index-level scores can be used to get an accurate picture of the overall climate of a school. Question-level scores can be used to dig deeper and identify areas of strength and weakness, helpful for determining future planning goals and areas of success.
A district-level PowerPoint report can give school administrators an overall picture of their district which they can share with their school board and community. Sharing this report is a good way to educate the community about their schools and strengthen the District’s partnership with its community members.
A school climate survey is a powerful tool in promoting a positive school climate. To get the most out of a survey, a school should consider:
1. Questions are important! Your questions should be carefully chosen to get valid data. Overly general or biased questions will not produce quality data.
2. Not all survey methods produce the same results. Using an anonymous survey is helpful in getting a high response rate and honest answers from participants. Utilizing a system that allows participants to respond only once ensures data integrity.
3. Data must be easy to use. If your data is not easily interpreted, it will not be useful. You’ll want easy-to-access and accurate data for future planning goals.
When schools cultivate a healthy and positive climate, staff and students are more productive and invested in their schools. Promoting this kind of environment requires insight and a plan of action. A quality school climate survey is a good first step in achieving that goal.
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