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Don’t leave it on the counter!

This blog post is part of our surveying best practices series that we’re featuring during the summer of 2021. The series will highlight important lessons we’ve learned over the past 20 years.

At School Perceptions, we want to be sure you get the best data possible from your parent survey. That’s why it’s important to us that you get a high response rate.

Whether you are self-administering a School Perceptions survey or we are taking care of the implementation for you, there are many things that can be done before, during, and even after the survey to ensure a strong response.

Before your survey launches

Pre-survey preparation is key. Parents who know what to expect are much more likely to respond and much less likely to mistake your survey for junk mail. Sending a “heads-up” email from the district, posting to social media, and adding an announcement to your district website are all good ways to prepare parents for the survey. We can provide examples and templates in the days leading up to your survey to make preparation a breeze.

Your pre-survey communication should answer the following important questions:

  • Who should take the survey? Let your families know that every voice is important and that all parents are encouraged to respond.

  • Why are you surveying? Communicate with your families that you are looking for honest feedback to help identify what the district is doing well and where improvement is needed.

  • Who will the survey invitation come from? Make sure respondents know that the surveys will come from School Perceptions and that sending from a third party will ensure data integrity and respondent confidentiality.

  • What if a parent doesn’t get an invitation? Provide the name and email of a contact person in the event a parent doesn’t receive an invitation.

  • What will you do with the results? Announcing your plans for sharing results and/or action items is a great way to encourage participation.

During your survey window

While a survey is underway, we have found it’s helpful to send out friendly reminders. No matter who’s administering your survey—you or us—our software is capable of tracking completion, which ensures that reminder invitations are sent from our software to non-responders only.

Other tips to encourage participation during the survey window include:

  • Continued communication. If School Perceptions is sending reminder emails, it’s a great idea to follow up with a message from the district as well. We’ll keep you updated on your progress and suggest the best time to follow up.

  • Provide incentives. Random prize drawings or incentives for the school with the most responses are popular choices.

  • Set participation goals and keep families updated on your progress.

After your survey ends

Parents will be interested in your findings and will appreciate knowing how that information will be used. At the conclusion of your survey, there are things you can do to keep parents informed and ensure future survey participation:

  • Thank parents for their feedback and share a final response rate.

  • Provide a summary of your findings. Our District-Level Written Report is an easy-to-understand overview of your results and the survey process. It’s ideal for sharing at school board meetings and uploading to your district’s website.

  • Share action items and celebrations. Use your results to identify what’s going well in the district as well as areas for continued improvement. Uploading these to your website or social media is a great way to engage parents and encourage participation in your next survey.

Even though I mentioned it above, many of these tips are things that can be done no matter if we’re administering your survey or you are doing that piece on your own. This flexibility is part of our Key Measurements System, which not only includes parent surveys but staff and student surveys as well.

If you’re curious about the KMS, reach out to us, and let us know! We can get you all set up before the beginning of the year.

The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Cari Udermann, Project Implementation Manager.


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