Recommendations for Survey Length Print or save as PDF

"What is the recommended length of a composed survey?"

For each of the measures in the menu, we have compiled statistics about how long it takes most students to complete the measure. As measures are checked off and added, the clock on the survey composing page will show you an estimate of the total time it will take most students to complete the survey

You can read the article Factors Affecting Survey Length  to learn more about the factors beyond measure selection that can affect survey length.




We recommend that surveys are short enough to be completed in a single class period. However, it is also possible to administer the survey across multiple class periods on consecutive days.
Please keep in mind, survey length should not be the only consideration when deciding to add or remove measures. See below for other considerations.


Selecting what you need...

With the OurSCHOOL survey, you can select from a wide variety of measures and topic areas. Taking time to plan and choose which measures are right for you and your school is important, but how do you choose? The OurSCHOOL team can help you select measures that will help you to reach your goals.

Many factors can influence which measures you should select, including:

  • Ministerial or governing body mandates - Are you required to report back to your ministry or governing body on specific topics, such as school safety or bullying?
  • School or district plans - What areas in your school or district plan would you like to capture evidence on? See the section below for more information.
  • The context of your school - For example, do you have a large Indigenous or Immigrant population? Would it make sense to include these or other demographic factors?
  • Historical selection - With the OurSCHOOL survey, you are able to view year-over-year results, which help you see how your results have changed over time. What measures are you tracking over time?
  • Interventions - Do you want to see if a newly implemented intervention is effective? For example, if you implemented an anti-bullying program you can see how your bullying results have been impacted by comparing results before and after the program was implemented.
  • General interest - Is there a particular topic area you are interested in collecting data on?
  • Additional topics - Are there topic areas that the OurSCHOOL Survey does not cover? If so, you can consider the addition of custom questions to your survey that will allow you to ask questions that reflect the unique context of your school.

Also consider:

Watch out for survey fatigue!

If a survey is too long, students may become overwhelmed or uninterested in finishing the survey. Finding a balance between collecting the information you need and the length of the survey is very important. One way to help is to discuss with students the importance of the survey in advance. You can also share the results and action plan after they have completed it. This will help students feel that their voice is not only heard but that they have the power to positively impact their school!


What about a second snapshot?

It can be tempting to add all the measures. If you are composing your survey and can't get all the measures you want onto the survey without exceeding one class period, you could try strategies such as:

  • Splitting measures across two different survey administrations. For example, you could administer an Engagement-oriented survey in the first half of the year and a Bullying and Safety-oriented survey in the second half.
  • Start by picking a specific area of focus that you are most interested in learning about. We have focus-area themes such as Student Engagement, Inclusion, Bullying and School Safety, Healthy Schools, Effective Schools, and School Completion which have a suggested package of measures that add up to less than 40 minutes.