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RIDE Releases 2017 SurveyWorks Results

More Than 113,000 Rhode Islanders Complete School Climate and Culture Survey

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today released the results of the 2017 SurveyWorks, a school culture and climate survey that was completed by more than 85,000 students, 10,300 educators, and nearly 17,000 parents and family members. School leaders, families, and the general public can access an interactive online dashboard to view the results for each constituency by topic and by specific question, both statewide and at the individual school level.

“Students do not achieve in school unless they can connect in a meaningful way with their learning. We need to not only make learning relevant, but also make sure that our schools reflect the needs, passions, and experiences of each student,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner. “To do this effectively, we need feedback from students and families, and from the educators who are working in the classroom every day.”

SurveyWorks data covers a wide array of challenges facing students, educators, and families, including anxiety, school safety, family engagement, professional development, and more.

While the majority of both students and family members believe that schools are a safe place, students reported high rates of stress. Half of all students in grades 6 through 12 find school to be “quite stressful” or “extremely stressful,” and 71 percent worry about their grades “frequently” or “almost always.” Engagement emerged as another area of concern for students and families. The overall school engagement score for students is 27 percent. Parents, too, responded with only 22 percent favorability on their involvement in school.

Commissioner Wagner is hopeful that SurveyWorks can be helpful not only in compiling this information, but also in tackling student and family engagement going forward.

“It’s important that students, families, and educators know that we’re listening. Mobilizing them to be partners in education is valuable when it comes to crafting responsive and thoughtful policy, and it’s also a powerful tool for transformation when it comes to school culture,” said Wagner. “We owe it to everyone who participated to take this feedback to heart and incorporate it into our practice.”

“We so appreciate the time and effort that students, families, and educators dedicated to completing SurveyWorks and offering their honest feedback,” said Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Board of Education. “The Board will review this data and use it as a resource as we move forward to address the concerns, priorities, and goals of Rhode Island students and education stakeholders.”

This was the first time that RIDE embarked on a statewide school culture survey since the 2013-2014 school year, and the department focused considerable efforts this year on increasing family participation. Commissioner Wagner tapped into the statewide Student Advisory Council to raise awareness of SurveyWorks, and also convened a Parent Outreach Design Team, made up of parents and community leaders, to work on strategies to better involve families in education. RIDE’s successful SurveyWorks campaign was featured in a national webinar sponsored by Education Week and Panorama, the survey provider that RIDE utilized.

In the coming months, RIDE will offer informational webinars and tools that schools and districts can use to access and utilize their SurveyWorks data.