Professional development, repairs among list of complaints reported by RIDE’s 2018 SurveyWorks results

THE R.I. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has announced the findings of its 2018 SurveyWorks report into school culture and climate. / COURTESY RIDE
THE R.I. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has announced the findings of its 2018 SurveyWorks report into school culture and climate. / COURTESY RIDE

PROVIDENCE – Via a round table discussion held Tuesday, the R.I. Department of Education released the results of its 2018 SurveyWorks report querying students, teachers, administrators and families about the culture and climate of schools across the state.

The two most notable findings dealt with professional development among teachers and patching the aging infrastructure of educational facilities throughout Rhode Island.

Highlights within the latest findings show 66 percent of queried teachers said collaboration among fellow educators is beneficial to their trade. However, half that number (33 percent) said they were pleased by the professional development opportunities available to them in their current positions.

Most teachers queried in the survey (79 percent) reported educational facilities being in need of repair as “a regular occurrence,”  51 percent of whom reported disrepair needing to be address “frequently” or “almost all the time.”

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In a statement at the event on Tuesday, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner said such data needs to be leveraged “to maximize” support for all involved – especially educators.

“SurveyWorks allows us to better understand the student experience, as well as what is working and what can be improved from the perspectives of our key partners: the educators doing the work on the ground and the families supporting our students at home,” said Wagner.

The remainder of the highlights reviewed by Wagner on Tuesday are as follows:

  • A 9 percentage point decrease was measured in responses from families regarding school safety, year-over-year, even though 72 percent responded favorably in the latest findings.
  • Favorable engagement of sixth through 12th graders rests at 26 percent while favorable engagement of third through fifth graders is 29 percentage points higher at 55 percent. The report also found similar “gaps” among grade levels when it came to school climate, school belonging and teacher-student relationships.
  • Four in five, or 80 percent, of third through fifth graders surveyed and 64 percent of sixth through 12th graders surveyed felt school will either be “quite” or “extremely” useful in their future.
  • More than half of teachers and parents queried, 61 and 55 percents respectively, believed two absences per month will have “quite a bit” or have a “tremendous amount” of impact on a student’s ability to graduate on time. Yet, less than half of sixth through 12th graders, 38 percent, agreed.

A total 119,500 educators, students and families were queried in the most recent survey. This figure represents growth in each category of respondent as well as a new building administrator survey and the addition of a special education family survey.

Further delineation of the survey results can be found on the RIDE website.

RIDE partners with Panorama Education to conduct the survey primarily online and gather responses from participants located across the state.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.