The Best Surveys to Improve School Performance
When we think about surveys, we often consider them in a business context, such as analysing customer satisfaction or staff engagement. However, there are plenty of other uses for surveys, one of them being to help schools improve their performance. While the main focus of a school is to educate young people, they still need to operate very similarly to any other business. Feedback is crucial for success and that’s why surveys can have a drastic effect on a school’s performance. Whether you’re looking for insights into student behaviour, staff engagement or even issues affecting the entire school community, surveys play a key role. Here are 7 different types of surveys you can use to improve a school’s performance.
Whole of school opinion survey
Ultimately, a school is like one big community. There are a lot of stakeholders invested, including teachers, students, board members, leadership, parents and in some case, even the government. A school isn’t just made up of students and teachers, and several parties have a vested interest in seeing their school perform at the highest level. This is where a whole of school opinion survey, or a school community survey may be useful. The beauty of a wide-ranging survey like this is the wealth of information you can gain from it. That being said, when conducting a whole of school survey, you don’t want to ask too many questions. The reason being, if a survey like this is too detailed, you start seeing several questions that don’t apply to certain groups. Also, the data is a lot more complex to analyse. If surveying the whole school, choose a few key areas you’d like to get people’s thoughts on, and stick to those.
Naturally, the students themselves are a huge part of what makes a school tick. There are a couple of ways you might approach a student survey. One is to address different age-brackets separately, just to find out specifically about their experience. This does help you to narrow down areas of concern and take action quickly. Alternatively, you might survey the whole student body about broader issues around the school. We often consider students as the ones being taught, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to teach administrators. This is a great way to identify how the student experience on the whole can be improved, and also tap into what students see as the key issues for them.
Much like students, a school wouldn’t exist without its dedicated staff. This includes teachers, teacher’s aides, administration staff and other support staff around the school. They spend every day immersed in the school, whether it be teaching classes or working with school office processes. With their level of involvement in day to day school life, the staff are a terrific source of information. You could ask them what they see the school’s strengths and weakness are, and also identify areas for improvement. Staff surveys don’t even need to be about the school at all. You should also try to run regular staff engagement surveys. This gives you insight into what matters for your team, and how you can improve their experience at work. Ultimately, happy staff are usually better performers.
Leadership Team survey
The leadership team within a school is responsible for overseeing most of the daily happenings on a campus. From department heads through to the Principal, Vice Principal and office managers, your leadership team are the people guiding the ship. Leadership surveys are designed to assess the leadership group as a whole, rather than pointing fingers at certain individuals. These surveys not only increase engagement, but they also help to identify risks, opportunities, and most importantly, ways to improve performance. It’s also a great way to increase the sense of ‘team’, and get all leaders within the school working towards the same goals.
School Board survey
A school’s board of directors have a vital role to play in strategic direction and future planning. This is where most of the key decisions are made regarding finances, wages, policies and the entire future direction of the school. Board positions usually aren’t paid roles; however, they do carry with them a lot of responsibility. That’s why it’s important to assess the performance of your board, to ensure everybody is fully invested and contributing. Again, it’s not about pointing fingers, but rather about ensuring the whole board is on the same page and performing their role accordingly.
360-degree feedback survey for school leaders and staff
360-degree feedback can sometimes be an intimidating process, but it’s extremely worthwhile. It’s basically a survey where two or more parties are asked to assess each other. In the corporate world, this usually involves leaders seeking feedback from their teams. It helps them understand what their staff members need, what matters to them, and how they can be a better leader. In a school environment you can use a 360 degree feedback process in a variety of ways. You might ask teachers to provide feedback to the leadership team. You may even ask students to provide feedback to the teachers. Not just a valuable source of information, 360-degree feedback gives everybody a voice and makes them feel involved.
School excursion survey
School excursions are a big undertaking. There’s usually significant cost to the school, but to parents as well. A huge amount of time is invested into planning and organising excursions, while teachers and support staff also take time out of their lives by attending. With such a huge investment taking place, it’s important to make sure your excursions are delivering value. Surveys can be sent to students, asking about their experience and what they learned. Teachers can be surveyed regarding how well they think the event was organised. Even parents can be asked what they think their children got out of the experience. All of this is valuable information to ensure future excursions are delivering real value to students.
So, surveys can improve your school performance
Overall, surveys can touch every corner of a school. From individual programs and courses, to staff engagement and the student experience. We don’t recommend bombarding people with surveys straight away, but a great idea is to use a calendar to schedule at key points throughout the year. That way, you can begin getting consistent feedback and taking action to improve your results year after year.
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