Never underestimate the importance of school surveys. Every once in a while you need to take some time to ensure that you know the needs of your audience. The benefits data can bring you are precious; they will go a long way towards shaping a better schooling environment.
Basically, it’s a mistake to assume that everybody thinks the way you do. You need only look to recent elections, both home and abroad, that have revealed ‘silent majorities’. Folks who are reluctant to speak out or offer their opinions until a critical junction. You really ought to take the time to pick some brains!
To build healthy communities, educators must ensure they have a clear understanding of their members. And not just the squeaky wheels but the views of the silent majorities.
Designing and developing surveys to give valuable results can be a challenge. You might be asking how to write a good survey question? Or wonder what the best tools are for school surveys? In this post, we aim to answer your questions and guide you through creating school surveys with SkoolBag’s Digital Forms feature.
Why Survey your School?
The good news is that we can show you today how to put your feelers out and read the room for zero cost. But before we get into that, let’s identify how surveying would be beneficial to the day-to-day operation of your school.
For starters, you might want to better gauge the communication preferences of parents.
Or you might want to collect some pointed feedback of your own on a very specific topic, like an event or possibly an important policy change or physical renovation to your school.
With these examples, we can already pinpoint a number of pluses to polling. Parents who take part in surveys are often more amenable to a proposed change as they both better informed on the need for it, and they feel like they’ve had a genuine say in the process.
This, in turn, fosters stronger parent/faculty relationships and encourages the caregiver to be more involved in their child’s education. The obvious flow-on: students are known to do better socially and academically if their guardian takes a more active role.
Lastly, using a survey to open up a dialogue on your school can lead to surprising rewards. Providing an avenue for freeform answers to your questions may yield good ideas and suggestions that you might not have considered yet. Implementing especially useful suggestions – and taking the time to credit and congratulate the source – may just prompt a flood of other great ideas.
Examples topics and questions for a school survey
What is it you’d most like to find out from your community? How should you word the questions in such a way as to hold the attention of your respondents while also not introducing bias into their responses?
There are some great resources available to ensure you follow best-practises when it comes to designing your surveys. So let’s get you started with a few basic ideas that have broad relevance for any school environment.
Assess parents’ satisfaction with school life Whilst many states have formal school surveys. You may wish to consider running more regular or informal surveys to assess parent’s opinions and encourage general feedback.
Review your school’s approach to positive reinforcement Questions in this survey could include some (or all) of the following. How do you recognise positive behaviour in your home? Has your child received an award this year? Can you think of any ways the reward system at [our school] could be improved?
Uncover opportunities for improving communication methods Our recent survey of SkoolBag parents uncovered some important preferences when it comes to school newsletters. What more could you learn about your communication practises that will help you improve? Think about the channels you use and frequency of communication for starters.
Building your first survey with SkoolBag
Now that we have a small pool of topics and questions to draw from, let’s break down the (surprisingly easy) process of survey creation.
For starters, if you’re not already a SkoolBag customer, signup here for your free trial.
Step 1: Login and let’s go!
Then point your favourite browser to your SkoolBag Admin Console, on the left-hand panel, you can scroll down a little to find the ‘eForms’ option. Give it a click to open up a sub-menu.
For this guide, we’ll make use of the provided examples to make our first survey, so click on ‘Templates’. Then click on ‘Sample School Survey Form” to get going. Once you’ve done the above we can start with…
Step 2: Filling out your eForm
And now we have steps within steps! The first phase in the production process is filling out a Form Title (typically your school name and the overall purpose of the survey) and a Short Description (a bit more in-depth on what you hope to achieve).
Be sure to include a contact email here if you want to give your respondents a means to follow up on results and/or make suggestions on the format of your next survey. You can also make your survey more exclusive by securing it with a password.
From here we move into the real meat of the survey – the questions. You have some decisions to make with each one you ask, too. Will it be multiple choice with checkboxes, or a binary yes or no?
Let’s start by typing in our question on the field in the left (in this case, we’re asking the name of the respondent). For this function, we have a dedicated means of collecting the data entry called ‘First Name’ and ‘Last Name’. Select those via the ‘Field Type’ drop-down box to the left of the question text box.
The good news is that we have a number of dedicated Field Types that can make your data collection pain free when it comes time to sift through your results. We’ve made it easier for you to catch things like Emails, Phone Numbers, Dates, Times and Signatures. Advanced features also include letting your respondents leave you Hyperlinks to requested materials or they can Upload PDFs instead.
When it comes to answers you have a number of options to sift through. You can enable multiple-choice functionality by filling in the ‘Choice’ fields. You can also remove the number of answer options by clicking the ‘-’ circle icon on the right.
Step 3: Publish the survey
Once you’re happy with your questions and answers it’s time to save your work. Scroll up to the top of the page and click ‘Create Form’ to add this survey to your school app feed.
You can set it live (or turn it off) by clicking on the ‘List’ link that’s sitting next to Create Form.
In the next page that loads you can enable the survey via the ‘on’ or ‘off’ links. You can also reap info rewards from your respondents by clicking into ‘Submissions’ - from here you can easily export your responses.
And if you’d like to alter something about the survey, you can always click ‘Edit’ to resume tweaking.
Now over to you!
And that’s it, folks. Everything you need to get started with a simple school survey. As our world becomes increasingly digital, new opportunities are available to power teacher-parent communication. Relationships are built on positive communication and can make a big difference in the outcomes for our students.
When teachers and parents work and communicate better, students can thrive together.
You should also consider how the power of surveys can be maximised via an integrated communication platform and school app.
Speak to a communication specialist today about trialling SkoolBag for your school.