Top Five Reasons to Survey Your Students

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Student surveys can be powerful tools to help school administration and educators gather valuable data. This school data allows for an in-depth analysis of the overall school climate, at the same time rendering a representative picture of student perceptions.
There are a number of reasons school systems should consider conducting student surveys, but we’ve laid out five of the most impactful ones below.

5. Using Student Surveys to Recognize Trends

By using student surveys, schools can view longitudinal data, particularly when surveying every year or every other year. This allows school administration to recognize trends, presenting the opportunity to identify a potentially problematic development and work to address it before it becomes an even bigger issue.
For example, a number of years ago, one school district uncovered a disturbing fact while analyzing their student survey data: in the 8th grade class at a single school, a disproportionate amount of the female students were contemplating suicide.
School administration took immediate action and extra counselors were brought in to discuss areas of concern with students. While there is no way to scientifically correlate the power of these data trends, it’s worth noting that there were no suicides in the school that year.

4. Using School Data from Student Surveys to Improve PR

Having accurate and up-to-date school data allows administrators and officials to distribute accurate information to the public and the press. This is especially critical in times of emergency and crisis, when these student surveys could protect a school from the spread of false information.
One excellent example of this occurred several years ago. We worked with a school that experienced a school shooting. We combed through their student evaluations, looking for any violence-predictive trends. What we discovered was quite the opposite: the school had significantly low incidences of bullying and violence, students in gangs, and instances of students bringing guns to school.
We shared these data trends with the principal and drafted a press release showing that the tragic incident was an outlier, not the result of a violent school climate left unchecked.

3. Using Data Trends from School Surveys for Students to Initiate Important Conversations

Student survey data that is responsibly collected has the power to influence decisions and initiate a change in perspectives. Similarly, data in schools that is gathered at the local level has a significantly greater degree of impact to the people in that area than most national statistics.
Analyzing survey data at the local level presents an opportunity for school administration to use the information collected to start a conversation – with principals, teachers, students, and parents – about the stories found there.
Having a qualitative picture of the school climate allows these conversations to be focused and productive. This is particularly important during discussions of controversial topics such as student use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

2. Using Student Survey Data in Schools to Make & Save Money

As a result of financial strains, many school systems are investigating new opportunities for budgetary support. One often overlooked avenue for this is grant funding. Student survey data can be used to apply for additional funding for school programs through grants.
For example, approved survey questionnaires for students can be used to apply for a number of different government programs, such as the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants and the STOP Act grants. Student survey data trends and evidence can also be used to apply for additional supplemental funding from smaller grants, like tobacco prevention and cessation programs or behavioral health initiatives.
While student survey data can be used to garner additional funding, it can also be used to save school system money. By evaluating the efficacy of in-place programs based on data evidence, school administration and decision-makers can identify their impact and, if necessary, reallocate valuable resources to where they might be more effective.

1. Analyzing Student Survey Data to Make Informed Decisions

School administration is responsible for determining where critical resources and funding will be distributed throughout the school over the course of the year. Analyzing student survey data allows key decision-makers to have a clear picture of the school’s financial investments and goals.
Collecting and analyzing survey data from students can provide a wealth of information that can help the school administration conduct data-informed decision making so that they can make more accurate assessments regarding the investment of funding for school programs.

The Power of School Surveys for Students

The list above covers only a few of the most important reasons why schools should conduct student surveys on a regular basis. But there are many other substantial benefits that can be gained from having an accurate representation of the school climate and student perceptions. Analyzing survey data has a wide range of uses and purposes, and school systems could see a variety of advantages from the data trends being used in meaningful ways.

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