- In its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability plan proposal, Iowa suggests issuing school climate surveys for students in grades 3-12, District Administration reports.
- The surveys would fulfill a requirement for a school quality or student success indicator in the state's accountability system, allowing students to rank their feelings on prompts like "My school building is kept in good condition."
- The surveys are intended to keep superintendents in touch with classroom engagement, culture issues and safety as a measure beyond just test scores, though reliability remains a concern.
A number of states have considered school climate surveys in their ESSA plans, hoping to add a metric that gives a more well-rounded idea of what's going on in a school beyond standardized test results. If accurate results are provided, the surveys can provide insight on everything from social-emotional supports for students to concerns students might have regarding safety or the state of their school buildings.
Not only can these responses help superintendents make decisions, but they can provide data that can be cited when engaging with lawmakers or local businesses, potentially influencing funding or philanthropic priorities.