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Parent survey scores: What’s up?

A couple of months ago, we compared staff survey data this school year relative to last year. If you missed it (of course you didn’t!), staff data was up substantiallyexcept for one item.

If you need a few great reasons to explore your schools’ staff data, we have plenty.

But we’re here to talk about parents today.

These four questions showed the greatest year-over-year growth:

  • Does your child currently participate or plan to participate in any school-sponsored sports and/or extracurricular activities? (+5.2%)

  • The District is heading in the right direction. (+4.2%)

  • The school board is doing what it takes to make our district successful. (+1.4%)

  • School facilities are clean and well-kept. (+1.2%)

Two questions had small but noticeable declines:

  • I am updated on how my child is doing at school. (-2.3%)

  • I have at least one school staff member I feel comfortable contacting when I have an idea or concern. (-2.7%)

Six questions scored above a 4 on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) Likert scale. Scores above 4 catch our eyes because they show an item is really going well.

  • School facilities are clean and well-kept.

  • I feel welcome in my child’s school.

  • My child feels safe at school.

  • School staff treat my child with dignity and respect.

  • If my child breaks a rule at school, they are treated fairly.

  • Overall, my child is able to handle the emotional challenges of school.

Finally, let’s look at the item at the bottom:

  • I am satisfied with our school’s efforts to address bullying.

Results to celebrate: Safety, leadership, and district direction

Schools are back open and are doubling down on their educational efforts to offset the learning loss experienced by so many students.

How do parents feel as schools work to regroup and get back to normalcy?

The results are encouraging.

Our deep data pool shows that parents feel confident about the conditions in which their students return. Parent data shows a 1.4% increase in the perceptions of the school’s safety and cleanliness. This is significant given the heightened stakes and scrutiny of safety and cleanliness under a post-pandemic atmosphere.

Leadership is another area worthy of celebration. Many decisions needed to be made over the last several years, and there were wide-ranging opinions on what those decisions should be. Our data shows a 4.2% increase in the item, “The school board is doing what it takes to make our district successful.” What’s more, for the item, “The district is heading in the right direction,” we are tracking a 5.2% rating increase.

Lastly, look at that bottom item: I am satisfied with our school’s efforts to address bullying. The score for the bottom item is 3.45. That means that even the bottom item is above the median! (Remember the scale is 1-5, so 3 is the middle.)

When taking a first cut at the data, one of the first things we do is see if the survey questions are above or below 3. Anything above 3 leans toward agreement, which is the direction you want and need to be.

This means that every item – every item! – is in the direction you want it to be. That’s incredible.

At the same time, something will always be at the bottom. There’s always something to improve. This is no different. Parents want bullying prevention to improve. Listen to that.

Areas in need of improvement: Connections, communications, and comfort

As districts build on recent momentum, the data shows a bit of a disconnect between some districts and their parents.

“Overall communication” ratings dipped by 1.7%. Scores tied to “updates on student progress” regressed by 2.3%. Finally, the metric for “I have at least one school staff member I feel comfortable contacting when I have an idea or concern” declined by 2.7%.

How can School Perceptions help?

The good news is that we are here to help with those communication efforts.

Our parent survey is a great tool that will help you gauge your local efforts, so you know which areas (safety, communication, welcoming environment, etc.) need the most attention.

This quick, nine-minute survey instrument facilitates communication between you and your parents – the process they seek!

This exercise alone will send a powerful message to your parents about your desire to hear from them so that you can work to improve in the right areas.

Results on a platter

Any survey/improvement exercise is only as good as the response that comes out of the results. Our data analysis process will help you understand in what areas you are strong and should be maintained and in what areas you need to tweak and improve.

You have limited time and resources, so your plans to improve need to be efficient. Our executive summary (also available for staff and students!) will give you a succinct and targeted way to summarize what you have learned and communicate your post-survey priorities and improvement goals.

At School Perceptions, our mission has been – and will always be – “measuring what matters.” We are here to help.


The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Daren Sievers, Project Manager, and Rob DeMeuse, Research Director.


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