District-wide Survey FAQs

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.


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.

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

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

Yes. You will need your student’s ID, which you can get from your school. These IDs are automatically populated when you access the survey from your parent portal.

The confidentiality of your responses 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 online surveys are 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, a dedicated team within the Office of Research and Evaluation. To further protect confidentiality, all survey data is combined, aggregated at the school level, and de-identified. Principal survey results are aggregated on a broader level (i.e., school type, region, etc.)

Surveys provided in other formats (e.g., paper copies) are administered according to strict guidelines to ensure confidentiality as well.

Survey results can be found here.  Data are only reported 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 10 percent of total enrollment or 25 parents/guardians, whichever is greater. 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.

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. Please note that the parent survey should not be copied and distributed to parents. If your school needs paper copies, please reach out to schoolsurveys@philasd.org. We will not accept paper surveys that have been photocopied.

There is a tracker, refreshed daily, on the 2018-19 Response Rate tab of our interactive data page. District Principals can also access this data in the “District-wide Survey” Qlik app.

The live response rate tracker removes duplicate responses (based on student or teacher ID) but otherwise includes all responses. We do additional data cleaning after the surveys are closed (for example, removing students who were not enrolled during the survey window), therefore the numbers in the tracker may differ from the final response rates.

The last page of the parent survey can be printed as evidence of completion. There is space for the parent or guardian to enter their student’s ID again to identify the student/parent. This page does not include any survey questions.

To protect confidentiality, the Office of Research and Evaluation does not disclose who has or has not taken the survey. However, parents may choose to make this disclosure themselves by printing the last page of the survey.

Still have questions?

Please contact us.