Student surveys: Measuring what tests cannot
Student surveys are being viewed by an increasing number of school officials, policymakers and researchers as the most effective tool currently available in measuring social and emotional goals for schools and their students. Qualities such as student-teacher relations, student engagement and growth mindset are not only being examined, but incorporated into accountability systems. This means that along with test scores and graduation rates, student state of mind will come into play when rating schools.
Researchers are convinced that students’ attitudes regarding learning, their skillfulness in working well with others and ability to self-regulate and persevere account for more than half of their long-term success.
Students will now be able to rate themselves on important indicators of achievement, such as social awareness and self-management. It has been documented that short, 20 minute surveys, in addition to teacher reports can accurately predict test scores, GPA, suspension and attendance outcomes.
Several school districts have joined forces with Panorama Education, a for-profit startup to analyze and administer these school surveys. With Panorama’s tools, schools are able to ask questions about what they deem important. Guidance is also provided by the company on which type of questions are backed by the best research. Access to questions other school systems have asked and what they have done to improve results is also provided.
Many school leaders find these non-academic factors crucial and are searching for means to document their progress. Increasingly, schools are viewing the academic component and standardized test results as only a fraction of the puzzle.