Friday, October 2, 2009

Quality of Education Parent Survey Observations

Principal’s Corner with Mr. Bateson

I look forward to seeing our school’s parent survey results each fall much like a proud parent looks forward to seeing his child’s report card. Parents can find the survey on the APS website under schools and then under School Report Cards. Follow the link to Quality of Education surveys.

In many ways, the survey is our report card. Granted only 25% of parents completed the survey but I have to believe it is a fairly accurate representation of your opinion of Taylor. So the first thing I do is look at the percent that agree and disagree. The next thing I do is compare our results with aggregate results for all APS middle schools. This is like the kids in class who upon receiving their tests back from the teacher ask “what did you get?” The results were intriguing and I want to share some observations about how we did:

Questions with significant differences between Taylor and APS:
Q 2: When asked about the school building, 72% of Taylor parents said they agreed the building was in good repair and with sufficient space compared with 80% of all APS middle school parents.

Q 7: When asked about school-sponsored extracurricular activities, 61% of Taylor parents agreed they were adequate compared with 71% of all APS middle school parents.

Q 12: When asked about improvements in the school, 66% of Taylor parents have seen improvements compared with 57% of all APS middle school parents.

Q 15: When asked about preparation for life after high school, 56% of Taylor parents agreed their child was well prepared compared with 68% of all APS middle school parents.

Questions with significant similarities between Taylor and APS:
For the remaining 11 common questions, the responses were virtually identical varying by 1 to 5 points.

The final five Taylor-specific questions raise further questions:
• For question 16, only 61% agreed that the amount of homework was appropriate. Does this mean those who disagree think we assign too much or too little?
• For question 17 about dress code, 26% disagree that it supports campus safety. Maybe some think it too lax; others that it makes no difference and should be scrapped?
• Question 18 indicates that 80% of parents felt welcome. That statistic bothers me a little and I wonder what we can do to make it 100%?
• Question 19 shows 76% of you thought your communication from teachers was timely. Why not more?
• Question 20 shows 70% of you opined that your child found the learning environment fun. How can we do better here?

So how do I think we did? I see areas where we shone (teaching math and reading, high expectations, safety, welcoming climate) and areas we need improvement (extracurricular activities, preparation for life beyond 12th grade, homework). I invite all parents to attend our monthly PTO meetings and share ideas for improvement. Taylor is here to serve our community and we need your ideas to get better.

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