The Association of Alaska School Boards places a heavy emphasis on developing and monitoring school climate and connectedness, given strong evidence of its influence over academic achievement and reduced risk behavior. However, initial efforts to increase participation in its Statewide School Climate and Connectedness Survey by offering online access were hampered by a rigid system with limited capacity for reporting and analysis.
Partnering with Washington, DC based consulting firm, Rouge Global Solutions, Portland Webworks redeveloped the survey system from the ground up, with a focus on offering expanded surveying flexibility while maintaining data integrity, and the ability for year-over-year analysis. Developed using PHP, Java and MySQL, these ubiquitous open-source tools were selected to ensure easy support and extensibility in the future.
The robust new online survey system entered service in early 2010, and in its first three months processed responses from over 12,000 student and staff surveys. The system queries students on over 70 different aspects of their school and personal life, with customization available at the school and district level. This new tool offers AASB the opportunity for more frequent assessment, providing invaluable data in uncovering trends in Alaska schools climate and connectedness, and shaping school policy in the future.