Parent Experience Survey

Welcome to the CSM Parent Experience Survey.

$499     CSM Member (for any one of the Teacher Culture Survey, Student Listening Survey, and Parent Experience Survey)

$789      CSM Member (any two of the Teacher Culture Survey, Student Listening Survey, and Parent Experience Survey)

$879     CSM Member (including each of the Teacher Culture Survey, Student Listening Survey, and Parent Experience Survey)

$779      Non-member (each survey is a standalone purchase at $779)

$599      CSM Member (Parent Experience Survey plus up to 3 questions)

If you wish to become a member, please click through below. Membership provides preferred pricing and free access to the CSM Library of articles across 11 domains of Christian school management and leadership. You also receive the member Wednesday letter with updates, special offers, the occasional gift, and opportunities to participate in primary research. Membership fees never increase as you long as you remain a member. What you pay now is what you pay later. Current cost is $8.47 month. 

Become a member 

If you wish to add 3 hours of consulting conversation, the costs are below. Once your school has participated in the survey, it is often helpful to have a CSM Consultant come alongside and partner with you in interpreting the ‘numbers’, talking about possible follow-up options with your participants, and understand how it might inform your ongoing decision-making. The CSM Consultant would preview your results, look at your strategic plan and enrollment over the last 10 years and then dive into a conversation with you.

$1299 CSM Member

$1699 Non-member

Note: this price is for one survey. Please contact christianschoolsurveys@gmail.org to include consulting conversation for more than one survey.

Once you have paid the Parent Experience Survey fee, within 3 business days you will receive your key for entering your survey.

You will be able to control the process for administering the survey yourself and see the results in real time. Please follow the instructions that are provided with great care to avoid delays. 

We recommend that you:

  • Accomplish the Parent Experience Survey over a period of 10 days maximum to ensure best results
  • Time it in one of the following periods: at least four weeks after the first day of school; at least two weeks before the Christmas break; at least four weeks after the Christmas break; at least one week before or after the Spring break; at least four weeks before the last day of school
  • Send out reminders four days and eight days after the original invitation. You will be able to select only those who have not yet responded. 

 

Once you close the survey, the results will be immediately available to you. Once you have closed the survey, you will not be able to reopen it. 

Note: it is possible to add up to five questions to the Parent Experience Survey. To do so, contact christianschoolsurveys.org. The cost for each question to be added is $50.00. This service is free to members.

The CSM Parent Experience survey was developed to identify school climate, roles and responsibilities, and family engagement. Questions and wording were reviewed by a panel of experts in the pre-pilot phase to establish face validity of the questions. The initial survey included 10 items to assess the demographic characteristics of participants as well as 121 items to identify school climate, roles and responsibilities, and family engagement. Based on the results of the pre-pilot study with a sample of 397 parents, a total of 58 items were linked to the 17 constructs. The number of items for each construct ranged from two to six, and these items were measured on different five-point scales. 

These constructs measure parents' perceptions and attitudes towards various aspects of the school, such as child autonomy, cost-effectiveness, holistic school experience, overall school experience, parental confidence, peer respect, positive school environment, religious education, respect, satisfaction with school, school environment, school quality, school community, sense of community, specific programs, track record, and welcoming and nurturing school environment. The survey also includes questions assessing participants' gender, level of education, income, ethnicity, and generation, as well as their willingness to recommend the school as a strong welcoming faith community and as a place to bring their children to others. 

CSM also completed a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to evaluate the validity and reliability of the constructs based on the data. The sample for the pilot study included data from 168 parents of students from seven Christian schools. The CFA found that all but one of the survey items were found to have significant factor loadings (β  >  .500) to their latent constructs and were statistically significant at p < .001. The survey using 57 items was found to be highly reliable using Cronbach’s alpha (α = .934, 57 items).

Findings

Here, we focus on our parents’ response to questions regarding enrollment and re-enrollment. Arguably, the decision to enroll children in the Christian school and the annual decision to continue with that enrollment are the two most important decisions parents make in terms of their interactions with the school. In terms of the relationship between parents and the school, no other decision compares in importance to this one. It is vital, therefore, that schools understand what is motivating parents generally (as in the results for this survey), but also what motivates them relative to each particular school. Administrators must know and care about what parents think and care about. 

The top three motivating factors are listed below in order of importance with the mean, standard deviation, and the number of questions on the survey connected to the category:

Mean SD Questions
Positive School Environment

(Teacher Quality & Care)

4.629 0.589 4
Religious Education

(Spiritual Formation?)

4.597 0.666 4
Holistic School Experience 4.381 0.594 3

 

 

Teacher quality and their concern for children was the number one reason that parents enroll their children and choose to stay with the school. Not only did this category receive the highest score, but it also had the lowest standard deviation, meaning that there was the least disagreement among parents about the importance of capable and loving teachers. In essence, parents are stating that job one for the school administration is to find and keep the very best teachers possible. Everything else is secondary to this. 

What is intriguing about this response is that it indicates (prior to enrollment!) that parents know something about the quality of the teaching staff and how teachers in a given Christian school care for children. Through word-of-mouth, they have heard good reports from other parents or from children who were attending the school. Parents typically inquire of other families about their experience with the school before they even consider applying. This confirms the long-held belief that the best advertising for a Christian school is happy parents and children. Spending money on ‘advertising’ is best done by ensuring excellence in mission delivery.

Close behind the quality and caring of teachers, parents care about the spiritual formation and growth in faith of their children. It should come as no surprise that Christian schools must differentiate themselves from all other schools by providing a Christ-centered experience for children through instruction and modeling. This was given as a key reason that parents enroll and re-enroll their children. Indeed, if the Christian school isn’t contributing significantly to the spiritual growth of children, its reason for existence must be questioned. While data on the academic growth of children is readily available, too few administrators have good data on the spiritual growth of the children in their care. Assessing the spiritual condition of the school and ensuring its ongoing development is just as important as academic growth. Stories are powerful witnesses to the school’s impact – it is equally important to ensure that students are surveyed every year to ensure that the ‘anecdote’ is a widely felt experience. 

The category of “Holistic School Experience” includes questions related to leadership, community, and character development. Each of the three questions asked focused on the parents’ decision to enroll. Obviously, character development is connected to growth in faith and spiritual formation, but it actually goes beyond simple belief to incorporate virtues such as honesty and perseverance. Again, parents have some inkling of this prior to enrolling their children. The survey revealed that parents are not only considering their children and the teachers. As they are evaluating the school to determine if it is a fit for their family, they want to know that the leadership is trustworthy and competent, and whether the parent community is welcoming and supportive. This means that the quality of the school’s community as a whole is a key factor in enrollment. We note that, increasingly, parents see the school as their prime community. It is a place where their friends are and where their children can be safe 

The CSM Parent Experience Survey is a tool designed to assist administrators in getting comprehensive, validated, and reliable feedback about their school from the parent perspective. Nothing motivates parents more than the health and happiness of their children. Understanding what they currently believe about the school in this regard is essential in order to address any concerns, improve the spiritual and educational experience for children, and grow the school for future generations. 

Content

 

Parent Five Factor Model

  1. School Quality [5 items]
  2. Parent Confidence [17 items]
  3. School Fit [10 items]
  4. Student Confidence [6 items]
  5. School Reputation [5 items]