District-Wide Survey FAQs

The five surveys (student, parent & guardian, teacher, support staff, and principal/assistant principal) measure six key topics related to school improvement:

  1. Climate: Areas affecting the school environment: perceptions of trusting and 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 manage their responsibilities, communicate, and perceive their level of autonomy.
  4. Professional Capacity: How school staff work together, the quality of professional development, and the level of support for improvement and innovation provided to teachers and staff.
  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.
  6. Equity and Inclusion: How often issues of race, ethnicity and culture are addressed in schools, the extent to which all students and staff feel they are valued members of the school community, how integrated and fair school is for students from different backgrounds, and the extent to which schools promote an anti-racist professional culture.

Additionally, each of the six main topics is comprised of subtopics that can be used for a closer look at specific areas where leaders and stakeholders might target their attention. For many (but not all) topics, 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, full-time support staff, principals and assistant principals. If you are a District employee with an employee portal and do not see a survey tile during the survey window, you are not eligible to complete the survey.

The surveys are a way for us to know what we need to change, but the results also help us understand if changes have happened and if they were in the right direction. We have collected some of the ways that principals and people who work at the District have used the surveys and posted them here on our website. Another purpose of the surveys is to provide more information to the public about each school, which is included on the School Profiles.

Because the surveys are confidential, we never follow up with any individual person about their survey responses. If you are a parent with a particular issue that you need to speak to someone about, please visit FACE’s Concern Resolution website.

Here at 440, we work with different offices to help them understand the data and use it to plan next steps. For example, each year we meet with the Office of Food Services to look at how students have responded to questions about school lunch. We also encourage principals to follow up by using survey data in their annual school plans.

One of the ways that we emphasize the importance of the survey is by including the parent response rate on the School Progress Report on Education and Equity (SPREE). Each year, schools are scored on how well they are doing according to how students, teachers, and parents/guardians respond to questions about Climate, Instruction, and School-Family Relationships.

We have also worked with FACE and their staff to create resources for schools, like a Tips & Strategies sheet and flyers translated in multiple languages. You can find those here on our website.

We also send letters home to families letting them know about the survey and how to take it and we provide incentives for taking the survey online. Once parents complete the survey online, they can enter a raffle to win a $25 gift card. This year, a paper copy of the Parent/Guardian survey with a pre-addressed, prepaid envelope, will be mailed home to each household during the survey window to encourage participation for those who prefer a paper copy.

Another thing we do is communicate with the Assistant Superintendents, who are in charge of the principals, every week during the survey window. We tell the Assistant Superintendents which schools are doing well and which schools need help getting parents to complete the surveys.

The best way to explore all of the survey feedback is on our District-Wide Survey results website. This interactive site allows you to see how parents responded to every question on the parent survey. To look at responses to individual questions, you should select “Question Explorer” from the blue bar on the top of the web page. You can look at responses from all parents across the District overall, or you can select a particular school. Another way to look at survey feedback on the website is to select “Topics” from the blue bar on the top. Here, you can see, on a scale from 1-10, the overall score for feedback on each topic.

To view results by school, you may want to review our two-page school reports that summarize the survey data for each school.

Yes. You will need your child’s student ID, which is printed on their report card. You can also ask your child, as they may know their student ID as their lunch ID, or call your child’s school. If you access the survey from your parent portal, these IDs are automatically populated.

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 commercially available internet security technology (view SurveyMonkey’s Privacy Policy). This ensures that user data in transit are safe, secure, and available only to the intended recipients, a dedicated team within the Office of Research and Evaluation. To further protect confidentiality, all survey data are combined, aggregated at the school level, and de-identified. Principal survey results are aggregated on a broader level (i.e., by school type, region, etc).

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

Click here to find two-page summaries of survey results for every participating school. Click here to visit the interactive dashboard of District-Wide Survey data. Data are only reported for schools that meet minimum response thresholds.

Results are only reported for schools if the number of responses meets the minimum thresholds listed below.
Respondent groupMinimum Response Rates Required
StudentAt least 5 responses and 25% of students
Parent/GuardianAt least 5 responses and 10% of households
TeacherAt least 5 responses and 25% of teachers
Support StaffAt least 5 responses and 25% support staff
Principal/Assistant PrincipalNot available at school level – District-level or school categories only

If you visit our Survey Archive page, you can access hard copies of all District-Wide Surveys administered to parents/guardians, teachers, students, and principals since 2014-15. Please note that the parent survey should not be copied for distribution. If your school needs paper copies, please reach out to schoolsurveys@philasd.org. We will not accept paper surveys that have been photocopied.

There will be a tracker, refreshed daily, on the Response Rate tab of our interactive data page. District principals can also access data in the “District-Wide Survey” Qlik app.

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

The last page of the parent/guardian online 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. Parents/guardians who complete the paper copy of the survey can take a picture of the sealed envelope as a record that they completed it.

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

You are welcome to take the survey once for each child, but we ask that you only take the survey for more than one child if they attend different schools.

Yes! If you take the survey online and do not need the paper copy, you should recycle or trash the paper copy. The paper copy has your child’s name, school, and student ID prepopulated, so you cannot give it to another parent/guardian to take.

You are welcome to take the survey once for each child, but we ask that you only take the survey for more than one child if they attend different schools. This year, we are only sending one paper copy of the parent/guardian survey to each household. You should complete the paper copy with the child in mind who’s name, school, and student ID are prepopulated on the paper copy. If you have multiple children in different schools, you can take the survey for one child using the paper copy and for your other children online. You can also take the survey for all your children online and discard the paper copy.

We apologize! You can still complete the survey online. Additionally, please contact your child’s school to verify that they have the correct address on file.

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