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Staff survey scores are up – a lot. Are yours?

One of the leading benefits of implementing a lot of surveys is that we receive a lot of data.


Like, a lot.


We’ve gathered millions of responses from staff, students, and parents from schools across the country.


This substantial amount of data allows us to monitor trends closely and uncover where things have improved and where things continue to be challenging.


Today, we’re going to focus specifically on staff.

Let’s start with a point that’s perhaps maddeningly obvious: last school year (2021-22) was, well, really rough. In the 20+ years we’ve been in business, 2021-22 had some of the lowest scores we’ve ever seen.


If you’re reading this, this isn’t news. You can pinpoint several areas of friction among the school community last year.


That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to talk about growth.


Let’s dig in.


Overall Satisfaction


Survey Question: The District is heading in the right direction.

This item is up nearly 17% year-on-year. Bluntly, this is massive. We celebrate when we see school districts increase a survey metric by 2-3%. That isn't easy to do across an entire staff body.


An increase of 17% is off the charts.


Survey Question: Our parents and community support the school district.

Staff show an increase of 10% on this metric. The fact that these first two questions are moving upward together is excellent news. It’s possible that staff want your district to head in one direction, and parents/the community want you to head in another. Then what?


Overall, this isn’t the case. Adults in the school community, writ large, believe districts are moving in the right direction, and their support follows.


Survey Question: District administration is doing what it takes to make our district successful.

Hats off to you here. If you’re reading this from the superintendent’s chair, we see you, we hear you, and we value you. And, based on the data, so does your staff.


You are doing everything it takes to ensure kids have a good education, and your staff recognize this. This item is also up 10%.


Communication


Survey Question: The District seeks input from a broad group of staff members.

This survey item is very likely tied to you steering the ship in the right direction.


If your staff doesn’t feel heard or if they feel you are only looking for advice from your “yes crew,” this sentiment will quickly surface. That’s not the case. This question is up 9% from last school year.


Discipline


Survey Questions: Our school’s student discipline practices and policies are effective. Our staff handles student discipline in a consistent manner.

These are two separate survey items, but I’m reflecting on them together. Among all of the staff survey items, these two still tend to generate some of the lowest scores. However, let’s unpack that.


Our staff survey items are based on an agreement Likert scale (Strongly agree = 5, Agree = 4, Disagree = 2, Strongly disagree = 1). All our survey items on this scale are set up so that you want people to agree. This makes the data easier to analyze because the higher the number, the better you’re doing. The middle of the scale is 3.


Thus, when I’m scanning staff data for the first time, I check to see if the scores are above or below 3. If you’re above 3, you’re at least on the “side” of the data you want and should be on.


Only three items from last year’s staff data were below 3, and two of them were these two discipline questions.


None of this year’s items are below 3.


None.


These two discipline-related questions are up by 13% and 11%, respectively.


We'll feature this sort of data analysis over the next several months and share what we learn. For example…

  • There was only one staff survey item that saw a decrease. What was it? (Note: We were not surprised by it, actually.)

  • What item is the lowest-scoring staff item this year? (Another note: It’s the only other survey item from last year besides the discipline questions that leaned toward disagreement.)

  • Where do staff feel best and worst this year?

  • How do the student and parent data look compared to last year?

 

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

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