Thorough planning and preparation will ensure a smooth and consistent survey administration leading to reliable data about your school.
It is important that students, teachers, and parents know why the survey is taking place, including its goals and benefits. It is also important that students, parents, and teachers are informed that the survey is anonymous, voluntary, and that students may skip any questions they are not comfortable answering.
- Remind staff of the survey’s purpose: getting reliable student data to improve the school.
- Tell school personnel about the survey. Hold an information session where you can hear and respond to questions.
- View the survey questions in advance so survey administrators can be prepared to answer student questions.
- Anticipate students questions. Are there certain words or phrases that students may have difficulty with? For example, bullying, as defined by the survey may differ from students' understanding of this term. Be prepared with the Survey Preparation: Terms and Definitions document.
- Review this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help prepare you for questions students may have.
- Not all students receive identical surveys. For example, students who indicate they have seen someone being bullied may be asked additional questions about what they did when they saw it happening.
- Let parents and caregivers know that the survey is taking place. Try sharing the news via your school newsletter or on social media.
- Make a survey timetable so teachers know when and where they are doing the survey. Read our Factors Affecting Survey Length article for examples of other factors to consider as you prepare to implement your survey.
- Investigate technical limitations, such as internet bandwidth.
- Use consistent instructions and procedures to ensure all students have the same experience.
- Consider additional staff for students who may require help.
- Add Text to Speech software on a few computers for students who may need extra reading assistance.
- Plan an activity for students who finish first.
Inform Your Students
- Our Guide for Survey Administrators is a great resource to use when explaining how student voice can shape the school.
- Tell students that answers are confidential and anonymous. Questions that make them uncomfortable can be skipped.
- Inform students that some survey questions stay the same each year to accurately track improvements. Use our Practical Tips for Generating Survey Excitement to help curb survey fatigue!
- Share previous results with students. Let them know of school initiatives that have implemented as a result of the information they provided on the survey.
- Hold a focus group to speak directly with students to gather more in-depth information.