Following the 5 steps described in Creating Custom Questions: Strategies for Success, see how one jurisdiction created actionable results from a contextually relevant custom question: How often are you hungry at school because there is not enough food at home for breakfast or lunch?
1. Identified area of inquiry:
Teachers reported that students were frequently distracted and complained of hunger throughout the day. To discover the reason why students complained of hunger, the jurisdiction decided to include a custom question on food availability in the OurSCHOOL survey.
2. Determined the purpose of the additional information being sought:
The jurisdiction suspected that a lack of availability of food in the home may be leading to students’ hunger. If the results confirmed this, data collected would be used in a grant proposal to start breakfast and lunch programs throughout the jurisdiction.
3. Ensured that the content allowed participants to respond from their experience:
Students were asked to reflect on their home-life experience as it related to the availability of food.
4. Chose an appropriate response format:
They chose a Multiple-Choice Question to collect quantifiable data that could be applied as a drill-down in the Interactive Charts to identify which groups of students were most vulnerable.
5. Used words that would yield actionable results an avoid common pitfalls:
“How often are you hungry at school because there is not enough food at home for breakfast or lunch?” Response options: Never / Once or twice a month / Once or twice a week / Every day.
After review, the question was clearly written and allowed students to speak from their experience. The results were used in a grant proposal to start breakfast and lunch programs throughout the jurisdiction.