SurveyWorks is an updated way to collect and analyze meaningful perceptual data.
RIDE's new opinions-and-perceptions survey is now being administered annually to all students, parents, teachers and administrators. To support student achievement, school communities and the public need to know if the children feel safe, if the teachers feel supported, and if the parents feel their school is responsive — among other things. SurveyWorks is age appropriate for each level — elementary, middle and high school — but it covers roughly the same areas of questioning for all three levels. Surveys are administered in the winter or early spring. Results are available as soon as technologically possible.
The most recent data available are 2010-11 survey results. You can find them by using the School and District Data page to access your school's landing page, which has a link to the whole document under the SurveyWorks Reports section. Also, as they become available, you will find sortable results from a select number of questions included with the focus-area data in each of the green expandable tabs.
For more information on the survey, visit the SurveyWorks website.
What matters about school-community opinions and perceptions?
All parents want their children to succeed in school and to build a strong base for a successful life. But research shows that test scores are often not parents' top priority. Parents want to be assured their child is being nurtured and cared for both socially as well as academically. Parents who are shopping for the right school might also be especially concerned with finding after-school, sports or arts programming. Some seek diversity, or school uniforms and discipline. Measuring these subjective factors is more difficult than measuring academic achievement, but the surveys greatly help.
Survey information about how students are feeling about their school experience will help teachers and administrators better understand how they might remove obstacles to learning. School Improvement Teams in particular should be using survey results to understand how their school climate and interpersonal relations could be improved to facilitate learning.
In 1998, Rhode Island became one of the first states to administer these sorts of surveys. The old SALT (School Accountability for Learning and Teaching) survey was much longer than the new SurveyWorks, and was only available in a paper-pencil version. SurveyWorks is primarily administered online, though paper versions are available. Many of the most useful SALT questions have been retained, but the new survey investigates a broader set of interests than did SALT, including career and college readiness, school facilities and resources.