Beyond the parent-teacher conference:
impact of feedback on student potential
Justin Lo, SurveyMonkey
Hunter Gehlbach, Harvard Graduate School of Education
A Harvard-SurveyMonkey Joint…
This will be fun
You’ll learn about:
• Designing surveys like a pro to get the
insights you need
• Addressing implementation: strategy and
• Applied questions: the good, bad and ugly
• Best practices from the Harvard-
SurveyMonkey education survey,
deployed to nearly 900 schools across
…and by the time it’s all
• Be a more educated creator – and
consumer – of surveys
• Learn a few adaptation and
• Know right where to go for Parent-
School relationship scales
• Parent support (social and learning)
• Fit of the child at the school
• Child behaviors (positive and negative)
• School climate
Getting the scales right
Designing for insights on the parent-school relationship
Step 1 – Literature review of parent support Determine how parent support is defined;
identify items that could be adapted for our
Step 2 – Interviews & focus groups Ensure parent support construct reflected what
potential participants experience
Step 3 – Compare literature review &
Full conception of the parent support construct
that both academics and participants agree with
Step 4 – Develop items & construct
Representative construct coverage and develop
items that adhere to best practices
Step 5 – Expert validation Establish content validity
Step 6 – Cognitive pretesting/interviewing Ensure respondents understand the items as
desired by survey developer
• Scales have been heavily vetted – high probability for being valid
for your population
• Translated into Spanish
• Work across age groups
• You can pick the scales that matter for your school
• Easy data collection vehicle
We’ve done the work for you
What has been effective?
• Keep the survey short
• Get parents the survey in a
way they can respond to it
• Survey in the language of your
• Consider incentives
• 30% response rate is a good
• Get started at: www.surveymonkey.com/mp/harvard-education-
• Contact Justin for more information:
– Justin Lo
Interested in learning more?
• Social Support
• How often do you and your child talk when s/he is having a problem with others?
• To what extent do you know how your child is doing socially at school?
• How well do you know your child's close friends?
• Learning Support
• How often do you have conversations with your child about what his/her class is
learning at school?
• How often do you help your child understand the content s/he is learning in
• How often do you help your child engage in activities which are educational
outside the home?
• How much effort do you put into helping your child learn to do things for
• How well do you feel your child’s school is preparing him/her for his/her next
• Given your child’s cultural background, how good a fit is his/her school?
• How well do the teaching styles of your child's teachers match your child's
• How well do the activities offered at your child’s school match his/her
• How much of a sense of belonging does your child feel at his/her school?
• At your child's school, how well does the overall approach to discipline work
for your child?
• How comfortable is your child in asking for help from school adults?
• How confident are you that you can motivate your child to try hard in school?
• How confident are you in your ability to support your child's learning at home?
• How confident are you that you can help your child develop good friendships?
• How confident are you in your ability to make sure your child's school meets
your child's learning needs?
• How confident are you in your ability to make choices about your child's
• How confident are you in your ability to connect with other parents?
• How confident are you in your ability to help your child deal with his or her
• Positive Behaviors
• How much effort does your child put into school-related tasks?
• How motivated is your child to learn the topics covered in class?
• On average, how well does your child work independently on learning activities
• How regularly does your child read for fun?
• In general, how well does your child learn from feedback about his/her work?
• Negative Behaviors
• When working on school activities at home, how easily is your child distracted?
• How often does your child give up on learning activities that s/he finds hard?
• How often does your child struggle to get organized for school?
• How big of a problem are the following issues for becoming involved with your
child's current school?
• How busy your schedule is
• Transportation-related challenges
• Childcare needs
• Concerns about getting to the school safely
• Your child does not want you to contact the school
• Negative memories of your own school experience
• You feel unsure about how to communicate with the school
• The school is not welcoming to parents
• The school provides little information about involvement opportunities
• The school doesn't communicate well with people from your culture
• School staff seem too busy
• You worry that adults at the school will treat your child differently if you raise a concern
• You do not feel a sense of belonging with your child's school community
Barriers to Engagement
• How often do you meet in person with teachers at your child's school?
• In the past year, how often have you visited your child's school?
• In the past year, how often have you discussed your child's school with
other parents from the school?
• How involved have you been in fundraising efforts at your child's
• How involved have you been with a parent group(s) at your child's
• In the past year, how often have you helped out at your child's school?
• How well do administrators at your child’s school create a school environment
that helps children learn?
• How motivating are the classroom lessons at your child's school?
• How fair or unfair is the school's system of evaluating children?
• To what extent do you think that children enjoy going to your child's school?
• Overall, how much respect do you think the children at your child's school
have for the staff?
• Overall, how much respect do you think the teachers at your child's school
have for the children?
• How much does the school value the diversity of children's backgrounds?
• Make time for doing fun activities that are
unrelated to schoolwork
• Help children deal with their emotions
• Identify what children are most interested in
• Ensure good communication between home
• Call attention to decisions about learning that
do not seem to be in the best interest of the
• Make sure the children’s learning
environment is safe
• Make sure children are supported to do their
best in school
• Make sure that the children understand what
is being taught at school
• Make sure that the children have an adult to
talk to at school
• Make sure that children have enough time
set aside to do all of their school-related
• Ensure children have good relationships with
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