October 24, 2011

Survey: DCPS Stakeholder Sentiment Improving in Several Categories 

Record number of participants responds to survey; positive comments reflected throughout stakeholder groups with increases in student perceptions of teachers

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The results of a district-wide survey of more than 24,000 DC Public Schools stakeholders show improvements over 2008 in teacher satisfaction and the quality of instruction, with respondents also expressing positive views on school safety, classroom conditions, access to technology, and support services. 

And, more students and parents believe their school is “on the right track for student achievement,” according to the 2011 DC Public Schools Stakeholder Surveys released today.

The biennial surveys, administered to all students in grades 5-12, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff throughout DCPS, gauge overall satisfaction with DCPS and guide school-district-level improvement planning. 

This year, DCPS received about 4,000 more responses than it did in 2009, with a response rate ranging between 17 percent for parents and 85 percent for administrators. 

Percent of Stakeholders Who Agreed or Strongly Agreed that “My School is on the Right Track for Student Achievement”, 2008-2011


Administered from May 3 through July 17, 2011, through a partnership between DCPS and KPMG LLP, the surveys asked stakeholders for their opinions on school-related topics, including teaching and learning; resources; family and community engagement; school safety; and leadership.

While the surveys help DCPS determine how well it is serving the community, results indicate opportunities for further growth and improvement at the school and central office levels. 

“As we develop our strategic plans for DC Public Schools, these surveys provide valuable insights that will help drive our decisions for improvement and ensure that our efforts match the vision of our stakeholders,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson.

The full report, which has been posted on the DCPS website, provides district-wide results for multiple stakeholder groups and shows how responses differ across subgroups, such as race and ward. 

The report also provides appendices that describe the methodology as well as question-by-question responses for queries on a district-wide level and individual school results.

 General Satisfaction

General satisfaction – measured by the results of a handful of questions posed to stakeholders – increased from 2008 to 2011 with all stakeholders showing higher levels of satisfaction with their schools than with the school district as a whole.

For example, the percentage of students who agreed or strongly agreed that they were strongly supported within their school increased from 70 percent in 2008 to 72 percent in 2009 and to 80 percent in 2011.  

Students had more positive impressions of their schools in 2011, with 82 percent of students agreeing that their school was on the right track for student achievement, up from only 69 percent in 2008.  

Students were more likely to give their schools a grade of A or B in 2011, with 57 percent doing so compared to 44 percent in 2008 and 50 percent in 2009.

General satisfaction among parents increased modestly, with the percentage of parents responding favorably to key questions increasing from 2008 to 2009 to 2011.  

For example, the percentage of parents that agreed or strongly agreed that DCPS was on the right track for student achievement increased from 72 percent in 2008 to 80 percent in 2009, to 83 percent in 2011.  

Among school-based staff there were modest increases in general satisfaction from 2008 to 2011.  For example, the percentage of teachers, administrators and staff who agreed that their school was on the right track for student achievement increased from 2008 to 2011.  

However, unlike teachers and staff, DCPS administrators were slightly less satisfied than in prior years on a handful of items. In 2011, administrators appeared to be less satisfied with the support received from both central office and from their individual school, and were less likely to give their school an A or B compared with administrators in 2009. 

Percent of Students and Parents Responding Favorably to General Satisfaction Items, 2008-11



Percent of Teachers, Administrators, and Staff Responding Favorably to General Satisfaction Items, 2008-11


Student Perceptions of Teachers, 2008-11



Teaching and Learning

Students were asked various questions about the learning, instruction and teaching standards practiced at their respective schools and how these relate to their success in school.  Some of the questions focused on expectations set at their school. 

Eighty-six percent of students in 2011 reported they agreed or strongly agreed that “the adults at my school set high standards for students.”

Students were also asked about their teachers. Favorable responses to these questions ranged from 78 percent to 91 percent in 2011, as shown in the graph above. Students reported an increase across these areas from 2008 to 2011, showing overall positive feedback about their teachers. 

One of the items that showed the greatest increase from 2008 to 2011 was the percentage of students who reported that their teachers inspire them to learn.  The percentage of students who responded favorably to this item increased from 79 percent in 2008 to 82 percent in 2009 to 87 percent in 2011. 

Alignment with Hopes and Dreams

Results from the 2011 DCPS Stakeholder Survey are closely aligned with opinions expressed by about 8,500 stakeholders surveyed through Hopes and Dreams, a three-month campaign that asked students, parents, school-based and DCPS central office staff, and community members to share their wishes for DCPS students, their schools and the school system.

Results from the Hopes and Dreams for Equality and Excellence in District of Columbia Public Schools campaign conducted this year help guide the school system strategic plan by articulating the collective vision of the DCPS community for the future of the school system, individual schools and DCPS students.

For the schools system, respondents hoped for excellent schools that provide excellent educational opportunities and support services for all students, families and neighborhoods in the District. They envisioned positive, nurturing and safe learning environments that are inclusive and respectful of all children. 

Stakeholders want a rigorous and rich academic program; beautiful, clean and modern facilities; excellent teachers; and enough resources for teachers and students to be successful. They also hope our students will be high achievers, engaged in their education and well-behaved.

Inside DCPS Highlights.


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