Administering Surveys During Distance & Hybrid Learning

This document contains frequently asked questions about administering surveys this year, particularly in schools where students are learning from a distance at least some of the time.

What topics are recommended for surveys this year?

Our Research team has compiled the following list of topics that are most relevant to the current situation.

Student Family Teacher/Staff
Teacher-Student Relationships
Barriers to Engagement Feedback and Coaching
School Belonging/Sense of Belonging Family Efficacy Professional Learning
Classroom Belonging Learning Behaviors Roles and Responsibilities
Supportive Relationships Family Support School Leadership
Positive Feelings Roles and Responsibilities
Staff-Leadership Relationships
Challenging Feelings Teaching Efficacy
Emotion Regulation Well-Being
Cultural Awareness and Action Cultural Awareness and Action
(Student and Adult Focus)
Engagement Professional Learning about Equity
Pedagogical Effectiveness
Climate

Bolded topics are recommended for hybrid or distance learning. Learn more here.

What is the recommended setting for students to take the survey?

For most schools, the three options for taking the survey are:

  1. synchronously, with students physically in the classroom with an educator
  2. synchronously, with students attending a live virtual classroom session
  3. asynchronously, with students completing the survey on their own time

When completing the survey, students should have a shared but private experience of meaningfully reflecting on themselves, their learning, and/or their school environment, ideally in a quiet setting with minimal distraction and ample time. The two synchronous survey-taking options better fit these circumstances, but schools should remain flexible about how and when students take the survey to help ensure every student has a chance to complete it, regardless of their ability to join live classroom sessions.

If you are supporting students in taking surveys in any of these formats, you can use or share the following resources:

More information about proctoring a survey can be found here.

How should we administer Teacher Perception of Student SEL (TPOS) surveys during remote learning?

TPOS surveys are intended to support educators in understanding the social-emotional learning of younger students, by limiting the questions to ones that teachers can answer based on their observations of student behavior in a typical in-person classroom. Now that most schools do not have full-day in-person instruction, we want to document the circumstances under which teachers can best perceive their students' SEL and give recommendations for when to administer surveys.

Timing & Circumstances

To ensure that teachers have had adequate opportunity to observe student behavior before answering questions about their perceived SEL skills, we recommend waiting 6-8 weeks after the start of the school year before administering TPOS

To complete the survey, is essential that teachers have access to relevant information about each individual student. This is more difficult in virtual learning environments because teachers may be spending more mental energy on teaching virtually, are seeing a relatively limited view of their students' lives, and thus may have difficulty accurately interpreting behavior without knowing the details of students' home learning environments. For that reason, we recommend the following circumstances are satisfied before administering TPOS surveys:

  • Substantial synchronous learning time: Students spend approximately 10 hours a week or more with the teacher in learning sessions. The synchronous learning sessions would ideally include:
    • Students using their cameras so that teachers can observe how they act during the session.
    • Teachers having at least some portion of the session with all students unmuted.
    • Students regularly attending the synchronous learning sessions.
  • Direct interactions between students: During the synchronous learning sessions, students have considerable opportunity to engage directly with each other. If classes consist primarily of the teacher asking students questions individually, with students responding to the teacher and not to each other, then this condition is not met.
  • Assigned coursework for students: Teachers assign coursework to students weekly that they are expected to turn in, and teachers review the work they receive. This condition would not be met if teachers are only checking that assignments were turned in but not reviewing assignments for their quality. 
  • Insight into how students approach academic work: During class, one-on-one meetings, or in assignments, the teacher is able to gain insights into how the student approaches school work. For example, the teacher could gain insights by asking students how they solved a problem or by giving and grading assignments that ask students to show their work.

Survey Content Adjustments

Our Research team has made two minor changes to the survey content: 

  1. Added instructions to prompt educators to skip any question they do not feel they have enough information to answer.
  2. Changed "Overall, how focused is this student in your classroom?" to "Overall, how focused is this student in your class?" to make it appropriate for settings where students aren't physically in a classroom.
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