Why is setting goals important?
As educators, you live and breathe backwards planning. Survey projects and the data you collect are no different. Project goals will anchor your work and shape the way you communicate with your stakeholders. Setting goals will also give you a way to track your progress and understand how impactful your work is, and will make it that much easier to talk to your school community about why this work matters.
How and When to Set Goals
Below you'll find some tips for setting goals based on your stage of work with Panorama, as well as examples of impactful goals we've seen our partners use. To build buy-in, it is often helpful to incorporate the process of goal setting into your scheduled planning meetings or professional development days. This ensures that the goals you set will be integrated into all of your other strategic priorities. We recommend setting goals before launching each of your survey projects.
Process for Goal Setting
Below you'll find a goal setting process that many of our partners have had success with. Feel free to supplement this with any processes or steps that have worked for you in the past.
- Identify the reason you have chosen to survey your school community. Finding your "why" is essential to setting realistic, impactful goals that will guide your survey projects as you move forward. Common goals for our partners include improving student SEL, supporting MTSS efforts, addressing inequities, improving school climate, and ensuring family connectedness within the district.
- Consider what you want to learn about your school or district. How could the data you gather help inform and understand progress on these goals?
- Finally, identify the survey topics most relevant to your district's existing priorities and design your survey around these areas. By connecting your survey topics to your goals, you ensure that your data will be useful and actionable.
Goal Setting for Your First Survey
Goal setting is an important part of planning for your first survey project. You can use your goals to state what you're hoping to learn from your feedback or SEL results, and once you have data you can begin to set more specific goals about improving your school.
Examples of goals you might set for your first survey project include:
- We want to hear from 30% of the families in our community and 95% of students.
- 100% of teachers report a smooth survey taking or proctoring process.
- We want to include robust demographic data in our roster file to ensure that our survey results allow us to address areas of inequity within our school climate and culture.
- Schedule a PD session in which school and district administrators have dedicated time to review survey results.
Goal Setting for Future Surveys
After your first survey, you may want to start setting goals that build off of the baseline data you've gathered. When setting goals for growth, it's important to keep in mind what makes a change in data statistically significant based on the sample size of your survey respondents. We recommend selecting one topic to focus on, and to roll out school or district wide strategies to improve the topic score. Setting question level goals is also encouraged as it narrows the focus to one area of growth and makes the plan for action clear. Remember, by setting goals, you are creating a commitment to the actions that can contribute to your desired change.
Examples of goals you might set for a second (or third, or fourth!) round of surveys include:
- Improve response rates by 10% to ensure we are hearing from a more representative sample of our school community.
- Improve percent of favorable responses to 55% for the question "How connected do you feel to the adults at your school?" (within the Sense of Belonging topic) by using Panorama's Get to Know You Survey in 9th grade classes.
- Before our next survey window, implement a new SEL curriculum in all middle schools, focusing on teaching Self Management.
Reflection and Goal Setting Guide
As you and your team reflect on your survey results from students, families and/or educators, feel free to use this reflection and goal setting guide.