EDSCLS Introduction

1. Introduction

Welcome to the ED School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS)!

The EDSCLS offers a platform that includes a suite of survey instruments developed for schools, districts, and states by the U.S. Department of Education. Through the EDSCLS, schools nationwide have access to survey instruments and a survey platform that enable the collection and reporting of school climate data across stakeholders at the state or local level. The surveys can be used to produce school-, district-, and state-level scores on various indicators of school climate from the perspectives of students, instructional staff, noninstructional staff and principals, and parents and guardians. These scores are reported relative to psychometric benchmarks that help users interpret the meaning of their data.

The EDSCLS platform allows education leaders to seek the viewpoints of multiple respondent groups. A multi-perspective approach is important because each of the stakeholders experience school climate differently. The EDSCLS includes four surveys. The “student survey” is intended for students in grades 5–12. The “instructional staff survey” seeks input from teachers and other staff who provide instruction to students in schools serving grades 5–12. The “noninstructional staff survey” was developed for noninstructional staff (e.g., administrators, counselors, coaches, and librarians) who provide services to students in schools serving grades 5–12. The final instrument, the “parent survey,” is for parents and guardians of students in grades 5–12. For more information on the background and purpose of the EDSCLS, see Appendix A.

The EDSCLS platform provides education agencies with the ability to survey students, their parents, instructional staff, and noninstructional staff, including principals, to provide a comprehensive picture of a school’s climate.

Features of the EDSCLS Platform

The U.S. Department of Education’s primary goal in the development of the EDSCLS platform is to provide a no-cost, user-friendly, high-functioning platform that schools, school districts, and states throughout the United States can use to administer the suite of school climate surveys. To achieve these goals, the EDSCLS platform

  • does not require education agencies to incur licensing fees or other costs;
  • can be installed and administered using a “basic”[1] network infrastructure;
  • minimizes risks to data confidentiality; and
  • allows for the decentralized storage of data, accessible only to authorized users within the education agency that is administering the data collection.

The EDSCLS is also designed to minimize the effort required to conduct the survey, compile and analyze the data, and produce reports on the results. The EDSCLS platform allows administrators to create linkages to external data sources for the student survey and add more questions to each of the four surveys.

[1]   Please see the minimum requirements in 2.1 System Setup in Virtual Environment (for IT Staff).

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