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School Climate Survey for Students - FAQ

OCDSB School Climate Survey for students

School Climate Survey for Students - Frequently Asked Questions

What is OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey?
OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey is an online survey evaluation system designed by Dr J. Doug Willams and 
The Learning Bar. A suite of surveys for students, teachers, and parents are available for use. The survey provides anonymous and reliable data to support bullying prevention and intervention plans and school improvement planning. There are currently 200 districts using OurSCHOOL across Canada, including 30 in Ontario.

OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey in the OCDSB
The OCDSB used some of the OurSCHOOL measures and questions to compose an Effective Schools Student Survey on bullying, school safety, and student engagement. Schools will be using OurSCHOOL again to survey students every 2 years.

Why are we doing the survey?

  • The school district is committed to gaining a better understanding of our student population to help us improve student achievement and well-being. Students will be able to share their ideas, thoughts or concerns about their school; their input will help make sure that their school is safe and welcoming.
  • To support schools in the development of their annual Bullying Prevention and Intervention and School Learning Plan.
  • The Education Act requires that each school complete a school climate survey at least once every two years.

Who will complete this survey?
All students from Grades 4-12 will be invited to complete the survey in each school. There are two different school climate surveys; a Grade 4-6 survey and a Grade 7-12 survey. The Grade 4-6 survey has approximately 100 questions and takes approximately 40 minutes to complete. The Grade 7-12 survey has approximately 130 questions and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Questions in both surveys are very short - either multiple choice, yes/no, or agree/disagree, with one open-ended question.

How will the survey be completed?
Students in grades 4 to 12 will complete the survey online at school during a scheduled block/period in a computer/mobile lab. 

When will the survey be done?
Schools will decide when to complete the survey between April 23rd and May 10th, 2019 and develop a local schedule to bring students to the computer lab during scheduled class time. Parents will receive communication from their school 1-2 weeks prior to the survey.

Why can't students complete the survey at home?
We believe that when students complete the survey in the school environment, it facilitates completion and supports reliable and authentic data collection. This is a school-based survey designed to gather a "snapshot" of a student perspective of bullying, school safety and student engagement.

How is OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey anonymous?
The Learning Bar build in measures to ensure that the data collection is anonymous. Students are assigned a random user id to take the survey. This user id is not tied to any piece of individual student information. Schools will not track the distribution of these id's to students, and will not track which students have completed the survey. Students access the survey via a secure web interface. When results are reported to schools, it is not possible for schools to see individual results, only aggregated data. The Learning Bar will automatically not report a survey measure result with less than 5 students; open-ended questions must contain a minimum of 10 students. Further support on anonymity and data suppression and reporting thresholds are provided by The Learning Bar.

Do I need to provide consent?
School districts are required to conduct school climate surveys at least every 2 years (Education Act R.S.O as amended, section 169.1).Parents of students who do not want their child to participate in the survey must complete the Notice of non-consent, which accompanies the letter that parents will receive from their school.The survey is voluntary. Students will complete the survey during class and may choose not to participate.

What if students don't want to answer certain questions?
Completing the survey is voluntary. Individual questions can be skipped if students are not comfortable answering a particular question. Because of the survey composition, a specific survey measure will have a few questions related to it so that if an individual question is skipped, it will not affect the reliability of the measure.

How is this survey different from the 2011 Student Survey?
OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey is a survey that is done at the school level. The 2011 student survey was a district-wide demographic survey which included some questions relating to school climate amongst a number of other issues. Both surveys were confidential and voluntary, but the important difference is that the OurSCHOOL survey is completely anonymous. Unlike the student survey, the OurSCHOOL survey data cannot be correlated with student achievement data in any way. OurSCHOOL provides a perceptual snapshot on school climate whereas the student survey provided data as part of a larger research project on student demographics and student achievement.

Does the survey include questions about the height and weight of students?
No, there are no questions on the OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey about a student's height and weight.

Does the survey include questions about sexual orientation of students?
No, there are no questions on the OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey about a student's sexual orientation. At the secondary level, the survey does allow students to identify sexual orientation as a probable cause of bullying.

Why are schools only doing the OurSCHOOL/ School Climate Survey for students this year and not a parent survey?
We are committed to surveying parents at least once every two years. We encourage you to communicate with the school principal if you have any feedback or concerns about the school at any point in time.

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