District-wide Survey FAQs

What do the District-wide Surveys measure?

The four surveys (student, parent & guardian, teacher, and principal) measure five key constructs, or topics, related to school improvement:

  1. Climate — Areas affecting the school environment: school mission and vision, respectful relationships, student safety and support, and challenges to student learning.
  2. Instruction — Student engagement and how students, parents/guardians, and teachers feel about the quality of teaching and learning at their school.
  3. Leadership — How school leaders communicate and implement their school vision, how they manage their responsibilities, and how they perceive their level of autonomy.
  4. Professional Capacity — How school staff work together, what types of professional development teachers receive, and if teachers feel supported in growing and innovating in their classrooms.
  5. Parent/Guardian-Community Ties — How schools reach out to and communicate with parents/guardians, what parents/guardians think about these efforts, and how parents/guardians are getting involved with their child’s education.

Additionally, each of the five main constructs is comprised of sub-constructs that can be used for a closer look at specific areas where leaders and stakeholders might target their attention. For many (but not all) constructs, the surveys ask similar questions of multiple respondent groups (e.g., teachers, students, and parents/guardians) to allow comparison of different views.

How were the current District-wide Surveys designed?

The surveys are based on research on effective schools and school reform, particularly the extensive work done by Anthony Bryk and his colleagues (2010) at The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. The surveys were developed by The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE), as part of Shared Solutions, the first formal researcher–practitioner partnership between SDP and Penn GSE. Through multiple rounds of focus groups, item testing, and cognitive interviews, stakeholders played a critical role in determining the questions included in the survey, the language used, and the methods of distribution.

Who takes the District-wide Survey?

Surveys are available to students in grades 3-12 attending District public and charter schools, their parents and guardians, teachers, and principals. The surveys are available each year in the spring.

How can I take the District-wide Survey?

Specific instructions for taking the surveys vary from year to year. Please visit our Survey Instructions page for up-to-date instructions and information.

I am having trouble taking the District-wide Survey. Who do I contact?

Please contact the Survey Help Team at schoolsurveys@philasd.org or by calling 215-400-6565.

Do I need my student’s ID to take the parent/guardian survey?

Yes. You will need your student’s ID, which you can get from your school.

How do you keep results private?

Data privacy is of the utmost importance to our survey efforts. All survey administration and analysis follows The School District of Philadelphia’s Survey Code of Ethics.

The surveys are primarily administered through SurveyMonkey, a company that uses some of the most advanced technology for Internet security that is commercially available (view SurveyMonkey’s Privacy Policy). This ensures that user data in transit is safe, secure, and available only to intended recipients. Surveys provided in other formats (e.g., paper copies) are administered according to strict guidelines to ensure confidentiality as well.

To further protect confidentiality, all survey data is combined and aggregated at the school level. Principal survey results are aggregated at a more broad level (i.e., school type, region, etc.).

Where are my school’s results?

Survey results can be found here.  Data are only available for schools that meet minimum response thresholds. For student surveys, the minimum number of responses per school is 25 percent of students or 50 students, whichever is greater. For parent/guardian surveys, the threshold is whichever is greater, 5 percent of total enrollment or 25 parents/guardians for the 2014-2015 school year and 10 percent for the 2015-2016 school year. For teacher surveys, a minimum of 20 teachers or 25 percent of total teachers per school must have responded. Principal survey results are only presented in aggregate.

Where can I see hard copies of the District-wide surveys?

If you visit our Survey Archive page, you can access hard copies of all District-wide surveys administered since the 2014-2015 school year. Hard copies are available for all survey versions, including Parent/Guardian, Teacher, Student, and Principal. View our past surveys here.


Still Have Questions?

Please contact us.