The problem with annual surveys
School surveys should help leadership teams understand where school improvement is needed. Sometimes though, they can be as infrequent as every 4 years.
Infrequent surveys can lead to knee jerk reactions, aimed to fix issues that may have been around for a while but have only surfaced because of the survey. Some of these issues may not even be a problem by the time they’re highlighted.
The importance of continuous improvement
Staff, student and parent concerns should be addressed as they happen to ensure the effects are short term.
To effectively combat the issues, a program of continuous improvement is required. Annual surveys cannot deliver the information required to bring real time improvement.
Breaking the annual survey down into frequent, bite sized chunks makes it more manageable and results are seen sooner. Smaller, more achievable, tasks can create a chain of continuous improvement.
The mechanics of a Pulse survey
Pulse’s survey questions are structured following research guidelines in order to get the best responses from those taking part.
A series of closed-ended statements are posed that are quick and easy for participants to complete with the responses easily converted to numbers, ready for use in Pulse’s scoring algorithms.
We follow the BRUSO model when writing survey statements:
Brief, to the point and avoid long, overly technical, or unnecessary words.
Relevant to the overall survey to avoid annoying respondents with irrelevant statements.
Unambiguous and can be interpreted in only one way.
Specific so that it is clear to respondents what their response should be about.
Objective and do not guide participants to answer in a particular way.
Gathering survey responses
Pulse combats survey fatigue by providing a quick and simple way to collect participants' responses. A simple visual-analog scale is used, with participants selecting a point on the scale to indicate their feelings.
Three options are presented to the respondent and their answer is converted into a numerical value. Meaningful graphics ensure that the respondent can quickly and easily see whether the answer they’re giving is negative or positive.
Calculating the results
Collecting the responses is step 1 in a Pulse survey, step 2 is delivering the insights needed to create issue specific actions.
Pulse maps survey response scores to 8 key areas called pillars. A low pillar score indicates users have issues in this area whereas a high pillar score indicates that users are happy in this area.
Pulse uses a series of calculations to generate the final pillar scores ensuring any decisions made for change are based on scores that accurately reflect the feelings of the respondents.