• Frequently Asked Questions about the School Survey

    What is the school survey?

    The school survey is given to students, parents and staff to help district and school leaders understand what is working well and what needs improvement at their school. It contains questions about many aspects of the school environment, including administration, family involvement, physical environment and safety, and is completely anonymous.

    Why is the school survey important?

    By filling out the school survey, students, parents and staff help district and school leaders understand what is working well and what needs improvement at their schools, and the more people who complete the survey, the more accurate the picture of a given school. This is important, because district and school leaders use school survey results to inform decision making about everything from academic programming to budget priorities.

    Who takes the school survey?

    Students in grades 3 to 12, parents of students in pre-k to 12 and full-time school-based staff take the school survey.

    When is the school survey given?

    The 2016-17 school survey will be administered from January 9 to February 24 (staff) and from January 17 to February 24 (students and families).

    How is the school survey administered?

    NEW for 2017: The school survey is now mobile friendly and can be easily completed on any computer, smartphone, or tablet!
    • For students: Surveys are administered during homeroom or first period on a date selected by the school to students in grades 3-12. 
    • For parents: Surveys are available on paper or online. Paper surveys are sent home with students in grades pre-k to 12. The link to the online survey is printed on the paper so parents can choose to complete it on paper or online. If parents complete the form on paper, they have the option to return it to the school or mail it using the pre-paid envelope that is included. 
    • For school-based staff: Surveys are only available online. All full-time, school-based staff members receive a unique link to the survey via their City Schools email accounts. 
    When are the results available?

    Results will be available at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Results will be posted on Principal's Dashboard and on the district website and one-page summaries will be posted on TSS. Parents are notified that results are available through school and district websites.  

    Where can I find the results of the school survey for my school and the district?

    Results from the school survey for all schools are available on the district website and on individual school websites (on school websites, links to the results are under the Announcements section on the homepage). Please note that due to low response rates (five or fewer respondents AND a response rate of less than 30 percent), some data from the school surveys are not included. Additionally, results will be posted on Principal's Dashboard.

    District-level school survey results from 2007-2015 and a slide presentation of the highlights are available on the district website (scroll down to School Survey). Click here for results of the 2015-2016 school survey (administered in spring 2016) for individual schools, along with districtwide data.

    What do the results show?

    School survey results show what students, parents and staff think about various aspects of their schools—from the learning climate to the physical environment. The results show a percentage of the respondents who strongly agree, or agree, disagree or strongly disagree with an item. In some cases, items on the survey are worded negatively (e.g., Students fighting is a problem at my school). In these cases, the number that schools receive indicates the percentage of people who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the negative item.

    How are results from the school survey used? And how else can they be used?

    The district provides each school with the results of the school survey along with a summary report of the results. Schools then decide how to use them.

    Results from the school survey are helpful to school leaders when building their school budgets. Specifically, information about the availability of a school’s resources, physical environment and learning climate as well as feedback about safety concerns can inform decisions about School Performance Plans and School Climate and School Safety Plans, and help inform school leaders about which programs to fund.

    The district uses data from the annual school survey as part of the new evaluation for teachers and school leaders. One of the components of the evaluation, the School Performance Measure, considers learning environment and climate, as measured by the school survey, among other measures.

    There are other ways in which school survey data can be used. The data could be used as part of lesson plans about percentages, studying data or marketing. The data can also be used to start discussions among students and staff and with the community about what the results say about the school and what can be done to improve the school’s climate.

    More detailed information about these uses and additional opportunities can be found here.

    If I have feedback about the survey items or the survey administration process, who should I contact?
    Feedback is welcome! The Achievement and Accountability Office is continually working to improve survey administration processes and to ensure the usefulness of the school survey data in informing schools’ daily practices. If you have feedback on the survey items, administration processes, or uses of survey data, please contact us at survey@bcps.k12.md.us