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Elevating School Research: Strategies for the Summer Season

The school year is quickly drawing to a close, which likely finds you in the midst of a frantic end-of-year push to gather valuable feedback from students, families, and staff ahead of summer break.

From school quality to employee engagement, the end of the year is a vital time to gauge community and internal perceptions of your district, understand pain points that need to be addressed, and look for opportunities for improvement.

K12 Insight’s recently released three-year national benchmark study of more than a quarter-million students, parents, and school staff members revealed some key differences in perceptions on school culture and climate.

Dr. Alisha Martinez, K12 Insight’s former senior director of research and business analytics recently wrote this about the study’s findings:

“We expect that school staff and leadership will generally have a stronger perception of their schools than parents and students. It’s why school quality surveys are so important–to help school district employees understand hidden pain points identified by parents and students. But this survey also demonstrated significant gaps between how parents and students view their schools. While just 64 percent of students rated their school as good or excellent, 83 percent of parents had positive perceptions of their schools. Surprisingly, parents had a higher opinion of their schools (one percentage point higher) than did school staff.”

Ongoing and end-of-year school quality surveys will tell you a lot about how community and employee perceptions in your district compare with national trends. This is also a critical time to ensure you have a viable plan to gather valuable feedback when students and parents and staff return in the fall–and that you’re using the right tools to support that effort.

This summer, we’re releasing a souped-up version of our school survey solution, Engage. The new features are aimed at streamlining the survey creation and implementation process by making it easier for you to build effective surveys and–perhaps more important–easier for your community to respond to your questions.

Here are a few of the major updates you can expect when the new version of Engage is released in a few weeks:

Updated K-12 specific survey bank

Browse through a collection of pre-built surveys created by expert researchers, specifically focused on the K-12 field. The new survey bank gives you a descriptive summary of the survey, a participant view into the survey, and a preview of what your results will look like. Successful researchers know what they’re measuring before they collect any data. Engage’s new survey bank is here to help you confidently launch projects with your end goal in mind.

QR codes

Simplify your survey distribution by offering one easy step to participate. Don’t worry about creating shortened URLs or custom links. Now, Engage allows you to distribute surveys through a simple QR code generator that participants can scan with their mobile phone camera.

Multi-tasking report sharing

If your favorite part of a project is data analysis, you know that one set of data can contain multiple stories depending on how you look at it. This means you’ll probably need to create more than one report to share your findings. To help you tell your district’s key stories, Engage now allows you to share multiple reports in one email.

Simplified logic features

This summer, experience a simplified approach to the survey logic features in Engage including branching–the ability to direct participants to specific questions based on the answer to a previous question–and skip logic–the ability to show or hide questions based on the answer to a previous question. The new Engage allows you to setup these types of sequences in just a few clicks.

As you begin developing your research plan for next fall, we’re here to help. Our team of expert school researchers can help plan, create, manage, and report your school surveys, giving you a better understanding of school survey data and what the findings mean for your district.

If you’re already a current K12 Insight customer, be sure to reach out to your Strategic Account Executive to learn more. If you’re not yet a customer, get a free consult and learn more about how our team and our tools can support your next school research project. Be sure to ask about our exclusive discounts for research contracts signed before June 30!

Get your consult.