Student Survey Types & Samples | School Climate, Bullying & More

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Student Survey Types & Samples: An Overview

It’s no secret that student surveys are a powerful way for schools to evaluate their programs, environments, and students’ perceptions and behaviors. Thus, they are often an attractive option for administrators and educational decision-makers who are interested in assessing their schools.
But before you begin the process of selecting the best student survey for your school , it’s important to know the differences between the myriad types of student surveys, including variations of what they are and what they measure.

School Climate Surveys

School climate surveys are scientific measures that evaluate several significant aspects of the educational environment in order to evaluate a variety of specific and general factors. The primary goal of this type of survey is to attain a comprehensive picture of the school and identify particular strengths and weaknesses of its different areas.[1]
Student surveys to measure the climate of a school typically measure several different aspects, but some of the most frequently addressed topics include:

  • • Student-teacher relationships at school
  • • Students and learning
  • • Teacher involvement
  • • Students at home and in the community
  • • Student alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use
  • • Student mental health
  • • School climate
  • • Other student behaviors such as:
    • o Violence
    • o Bullying
    • o Absenteeism and suspension[2]

In order to measure these facets of the school environment, these types of surveys will likely ask a variety of questions related to students’ perceptions and beliefs. Samples of questions that a school climate survey might ask include:

  • • Instructions: Please indicate the degree to which you believe the following statements are true or not true. Answer options include: not true at all, somewhat not true, somewhat true, or very true.
    • o We don’t learn much when a substitute teacher is in the classroom.
    • o Students have lots of chances to help decide things like class activities and rules.
    • o Parents treat teachers in my school with respect.
    • o Teachers help students cope with stress.[3]


Bullying & Mental Health Surveys

Bullying and mental health surveys are questionnaires that measure the prevalence of, perceptions of, and attitudes towards these specific issues by students within the learning environment. The goal of these measures is to “determine the frequency and locations of bullying behavior… [and] gauge the effectiveness of current prevention and intervention efforts. Knowing what’s going on can help school staff select appropriate prevention and response strategies.”[4]
Bullying and mental health surveys measure a range of factors and different surveys often measure different things. However, most of these measures include questions referencing:

  • • Social and Emotional Skills
  • • Peer Relationships
  • • Bullying Behaviors
  • • School Climate
  • • Substance Abuse[5]

The questions used on these types of student surveys will likely differ based on the target age range and the goals, however, sample questions may include:

  • • Instructions: Please indicate the degree to which you believe the following statements are true or not true. Answer options include: not true, somewhat not true, somewhat true, or very true.
    • o I am able to solve problems with people without using violence or aggression.
    • o Coming up with lots of different ideas of what to do helps me solve problems.
    • o I stood by and watched other students getting teased, pushed, or shoved.
    • o Other students used the Internet or cell phone to tell lies about you, embarrass you, or threaten you.[6]


Substance Abuse Surveys

Substance abuse surveys are scientific evaluations designed to assess and quantify attitudes and incidence of alcohol and drug use and abuse by students inside and outside of school. The primary goal of these measures is to “to quantify the use of alcohol, tobacco and other substances among middle and high school students…and to identify the risk and protective factors that influence a student’s choice of whether or not to engage in these and related harmful behaviors.”[7]
Depending on the age of the students and the community in which the questionnaire is being administered, substance abuse surveys may be highly specific (focusing on alcohol use among sixth-grade students) or very broad (measuring all instances of substance use and abuse for all middle and high school students in a system). Many of these types of surveys include questions covering topics such as:

  • • Incidence of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • • Age of onset of drug use
  • • Perceived risk of drugs
  • • Parents’/friends’ approval of student use of drugs or threatening behavior
  • • Risk and protective factors
  • • Discipline problems at school and outside school
  • • Feeling of safety at school and in neighborhood
  • • Time of day/week for using drugs
  • • Ease of obtaining drugs
  • • Location of drug use
  • • Effect of using drugs
  • • Personal and family information
  • • Academic achievement
  • • Activities at school and in community
  • • Family life[8]

Clearly, the questions employed on a substance abuse survey will be dependent on the scale and type of measure used. Some sample questions include:

  • Do your parents talk with you about the problems of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use? (Answer Options: Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often, A Lot)
  • Have you bought or sold drugs AT school? (Answer Options: Yes, No)
  • How easy is it to get tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, dip, etc.)? (Answer Options: Don’t Know/Can’t Get, Very Difficult, Fairly Difficult, Fairly Easy, Very Easy)
  • How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to use prescription drugs not prescribed to you? (Answer Options: Not At All Wrong, A Little Bit Wrong, Wrong, Very Wrong)[9]


Additional Types of Student Surveys

While a majority of student surveys generally fall into the categories outlined above, that list is certainly not exhaustive. Additional questionnaires that schools may want to investigate for use include surveys that measure:

  • • Family and community engagement
  • • Social and emotional learning beliefs and skills
  • • Teacher and administrator performance evaluations
  • • Grade or educational level preparation
  • • Healthy and unhealthy behavioral habits
  • • LGBT youth awareness and bullying


Choosing the Right Student Survey Type for Your School

Once you’ve identified the specific type of student survey your school will conduct, based on your specific needs and goals, the next step is to choose the actual survey itself. Just as there are many different types of surveys, there are dozens of unique survey measures included within each category. As a result, selecting the right one can be a daunting task.
For help, check out our article on choosing the best student survey for your school. Or get in touch with Pride Surveys, a proven survey company with over three decades of experience in the industry. We can help you select a proven and reliable survey that will help your school achieve its goals. To find out more, fill out this short online contact form or give us a call at 800-279-6361.

[1]Cornell, Dewey. “School Climate Data Collection Reporting and Use.” National Leadership Summit on School Discipline and Climate. Curry School of Education: University of Virginia. Retrieved from on October 11, 2016.

[2]The Pride Learning Environment Survey. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 12, 2016.

[3]Pride Teaching Environment Survey: Sample Questionnaire. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 12, 2016.

[4]“Assess Bullying.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from on October 13, 2016.

[5]Middle School Survey for Social, Emotional, and Bullying Behavior. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 12, 2016.

[6]Social, Emotional and Bullying Behavior Survey Grades 6-9. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 12, 2016.

[7]Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey (MYDAUS). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services: An Office of the Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from on October 13, 2016.

[8]Student Survey for Grades 6-12. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 11, 2016.

[9]The Pride Questionnaire for Grades 6-12: Sample Questionnaire. Pride Surveys. Retrieved from on October 12, 2016.

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