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Student experience survey promises empowerment

Editorial



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David Rauzi

How is your school year going? Students – and soon their parents – can soon weigh in on the values and opinions of their educational experience through a statewide student engagement survey to be taken next spring.

From this chair, the survey promises – at face value – to empower education consumers with a prominent voice in how this service is provided. And its emphasis on transparency of responses is a good sign.

According to IdahoEdnews.org, the survey is part of the state’s new school accountability system — part of the effort to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act — to help measure school quality and climate.

All public school students attending third through 12th grade will take short, online surveys this spring using the same technology they use to take online tests. After the surveys are complete, state officials will publicly share the summarized and aggregated data —without identifying students — broken down to the district and school level.

A similar parent survey is planned to roll out for the 2018-19 school year.

According to the story, the student survey questions will be grade-appropriate and will cover several different themes including school safety, student-teacher relationships, and school climate (meaning a student’s perception of the overall social and learning climate of the school).

What gives us a good feeling about the survey is the emphasis at transparency with making responses available to the public, and plans to have the questions available online ahead of the survey so there are no surprises on what will be asked.

Such surveys are a long-used tool at the college level; their absence in primary and secondary education has neglected essential comment to help the program self-correct, adapt and especially serve its constituents.



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