Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Illinois 5Essentials Survey

Over the next two months, certified staff and students in grades 6-12 across Illinois' public schools will be taking the newly required "Illinois 5Essentials Survey."  This survey is a research-based instrument that provides statistically valid information for school districts and the Illinois State Board of Education to use for a variety of purposes.

This online survey provides detailed information and reports on each of the "5 Essentials", which are...

1.  Effective Leaders
2.  Collaborative Teachers
3.  SupportiveEnvironment
4.  Involved Families
5.  Ambitious Instruction

The resulting information provided can, and will, be used for a variety of purposes at both the State and the local levels.  For example, the ISBE will use the results for both school improvement initiatives and to provide a picture of school performance that goes beyond simply looking at standardized test scores.  At the local level, the survey results can be used as a part of administrator evaluations, school improvement planning, determining professional development needs, and community outreach efforts, just to name a few.

This survey is required by all public schools in Illinois for the following three reasons.
  1. PERA requires one or more instruments to provide principals with feedback on the instructional environment within a school.  
  2. Senate Bill 7 requires an instrument to provide feedback from, at a minimum, students in grades 6-12 and teachers, on the instructional environment within a school.
  3. Revised report card statute requires two or more indicators from any school climate survey developed by the State.
The survey itself takes about 20 minutes to complete online, and includes about 120 questions.  All results are kept completely anonymous at the State level as school districts only receive the resulting aggregate reports.

Although certified staff and students are the only two groups being surveyed by the State this year, there is a parental survey could become mandatory in 2014.  In the meantime, District #1 is investigating the possibility of using the parental component of the "5Essentials Survey" this year on an optional basis in order to gather another data point for our continuous improvement efforts.

If you are a certified staff member in our school district, your building principal will be discussing the implementation of this survey in the next couple of weeks.  If you are a student or parent/guardian of a District #1 student in grades 6-12, you will also be hearing more in the next month.  In the meantime, if you want any further information, you can visit the "Illinois 5Essentials Survey" website.

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