It's easy to view your school through your own eyes and think you are doing a great job, but a look at the school through the students’ eye will often reflect another picture. The Student Satisfaction Surveys asks students how they feel about their school. Deep emotions sometimes come out, such as the following comment by a Year 12 girl . . .
“The Awards System is poor and needs review. Awards go to the same students over and over. I tried my best and achieved many great things yet I was never recognised.”
This comment is a worry and needs addressing. Feelings like this can leave an unhealthy mental scar.
What do your students think about your school? What will they tell others? Do you ever ask them? Everywhere I go, I hear that school boards are calling for a new level of transparency with regard to customer satisfaction with schools.
The Centre for Marketing Schools is responding to this challenge by developing survey tools to measure student, parent and staff satisfaction levels and providing benchmark data.
Our new Satisfaction Index will accompany the findings of each survey we analyse.
What do your students think about your school? What will they tell others? Do you ever ask them?
In analysing a parent survey, one school received a Satisfaction Index of 2.34. This is a good result and indicates a High Level of Satisfaction, but the principal was not content with this. He wanted to achieve a Very High Level of Satisfaction.
So, he examined each question in the survey and pinpointed areas for improvement and took this data to the school board and staff for discussion. The findings prompted the school to introduce change.
As your school enters the final term of each school year, do you think about your market research? Are you preparing your end-of-year surveys to measure customer satisfaction? This includes your students, parents and staff. Centre for Marketing Schools completed a Year 6 Survey for a school. Below are some of the revealing messages that came out, which should be considered for the future.
Overall, students made positive responses about the quality of their education, teacher/student relationships and pastoral care, but there were 5 areas where the school needs to pay particular attention . . .
And very importantly . . .
In Parent Satisfaction Surveys a frequent cause of dissatisfaction relates to the invisibility of, or, poor accessibility to, the Principal. This is reflected in unhappy written comments that appear quite frequently, such as:
Survey after survey reveals that when a Principal is perceived as inaccessible, levels of parent satisfaction drop.
How accessible is your Principal? If your parents were asked a question about the accessibility of your Principal what would they say?
A marketing manager whose school is failing to maintain enrolments conducted a parent survey to ascertain the satisfaction level of current parents. With the results in hand she sat down and compared the research findings with her school’s Strategic Intent, recently released by her School Council and Principal. The marketing manager wrote to me saying . . .
“I am alarmed to learn from the market research that the school is charging headlong into a plan that is at odds with the needs and wishes of our customers!”
Market research can affirm what your school is doing well, as well as identify where it needs to improve. CMS has analysed parent surveys from a number of schools and in one survey, 3 questions flashed red, (out of a pool of 65 questions).
Overall, the survey revealed that parents believe the school is performing well in academic areas, extra curricular activities, communications and staff morale, but there are some serious areas of parental concern.
The principal immediately took this data to the governing body and to the staffroom. He said it was extremely helpful as a catalyst for change.
Julian Schubert, Community Relations Officer at Redeemer Lutheran College in Queensland, undertook the Year 12 Survey two years in a row. Julian said he looked at other surveys and the Centre for Marketing Schools Survey was the best by far. He said the report he received assisted him greatly in preparing a presentation for the College Executive. “The survey made us more aware of the issues of concern to students, highlighted our strengths and pinpointed areas for attention and it confirmed some of the problems we already suspected.”