Student voice is a big part of modern school life and senior management teams need to take more notice of what students think. Part of the way we achieve this is by using the Questionnaire functionality of our virtual learning environment (Moodle) to poll our students and get their opinions.
Two ways that we have used this recently is “The BIG ICT Survey” and “Have YOUR say on reports”.
The BIG ICT Survey
This is one of our major research methods into
- the way students use ICT at home
- what devices they have access to
- the level of ICT and Internet access at home
- how we can improve our online features
We perform this survey annually (in lesson time to avoid skewing the results) and this informs our decision making in the ICT Strategy Group. In last year’s survey we found that 95% of respondents have access to the Internet at home and that 91% have access to some form of mobile audio (e.g. iPod, generic MP3 players or music capabilities on mobiles). When you have information like that it encourages you to develop more publishing in that area e.g. revision podcasts.
We’ve updated the questions for 2010 to get more information about how students use Moodle and access our services from home. You can view this year’s questionnaire here. We’re currently running the survey so will publish findings soon.
Have YOUR say … on reports
We’ve recently been looking at improving our reporting systems for parents and students. As part of the review process we wanted to find out what students and parents thought about the way we report.
We created two questionnaires to be completed online by these groups. These were advertised in our school newsletter, on our website and to students on the Moodle homepage.
The return rate was excellent and the results were quite illuminating and will certainly help us to continue to improve our reports. It also meant that students and parents knew that their voice had been heard and that we were working in partnership with them.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The advantages to doing surveys online are clear
- we have no paperwork flying around (and getting lost)
- nobody has to copy results into Excel spreadsheets (and potentially make errors)
- the results are analysed and graphs are produced automatically
The main disadvantage is how students and parents without access are prevented from answering online but by making paper copies available this can be mitigated. Students can access the survey in lessons or at the library before and after school.
We also learned a few things about carefully constructing our questions. This includes
- writing questions in plain English
- making sure the options are easy to understand
- trialling the questions with focus groups of students to find any potential problems before rolling out to the whole school