Deciding Which Topics to Measure

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Why Selecting Content Matters

All of Panorama’s instruments are designed as a series of topics, or group of questions related to a single subject area. This design feature allows educators to customize the surveys by selecting the topics they wish to use in their school without compromising the integrity of the surveys. Aligning survey content with goal setting or strategic planning helps ensure the data gathered are as impactful as possible.

Notice regarding parental consent

Panorama Survey content is in compliance with the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment and protected information survey requirements.

There are laws that protect students from being asked about certain topics without parental consent. These topics include, but are not limited to, political affiliations, sexual behaviors, religious practices, and any illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior.

Please familiarize yourself with these laws before adding custom content about sensitive topics.

Take Action

Explore the resources below to decide which topics capture what you’d like to measure from your stakeholders.



How do we pick which topics to include?

Before selecting topics, spend some time thinking about what you’re hoping to learn and what your goals are for this project. Once you know your goals, use the resources below to select the specific areas that will best help you measure progress towards those goals.

How many topics should we choose?

Although this varies depending on your context and other factors listed below, we recommend choosing between 4 and 6 topics for each survey. Our topics contain 6 questions on average. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting your survey content:

  • Your key interests. Use what you’re hoping to learn as a guide for selecting the topics that will get you the data you need.
  • Survey length. On average, students in grades 6-12 and adults can answer three questions in a minute. A survey with five topics should take the average student or adult 10 minutes to complete.
  • Survey fatigue. Depending on how many surveys students will take, you may want to consider creating a shorter survey to avoid survey fatigue.

Can we include all of the topics?

We encourage you to focus on the topics that are most important in order to reduce survey fatigue and gather only the data that is most important. The goal of collecting this feedback is to engage your community in reflecting on and taking action based on the data. Choose 4-6 topics to obtain targeted data while also being thoughtful of your survey-takers time.

Can we add our own questions to student surveys?

To get the most actionable information, we recommend using Panorama’s survey questions. In all survey content decisions, consider the purpose of collecting information and feedback from students. All survey questions should provide actionable information to improve the learning environment for students.

If I decide to do multiple surveys throughout the year, can we use different sets of topics each time?

Absolutely. There may be some topics that are more important or relevant at different points in the school year. But as much as possible, think about using at least some of the same topics each time so that you’re able to track change over time and learn whether perceptions are improving.

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