Why Measure School Climate?

Climate Survey talk bubbles (logo)

In MMSD, we want every student, family, and employee to experience a positive school and district climate.  Thriving schools require environments that are vibrant, engaging, and nurturing to the students, staff, and parents within them, and we believe measuring school climate will help us know and grow those environments over time.  Our district builds off the National School Climate Council's definition of school climate, which states that climate is "based on patterns of people's experiences of school life and reflects the norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures."  In MMSD, we measure five research-based dimensions of school climate: 

(1) Relationships, (2) Teaching and Learning, (3) Safety, (4) Institutional Environment, and (5) Family Engagement.  Each dimension consists of several questions, which roll into an aggregate dimension score.

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MMSD's Climate Survey Results

Child Raising Hand

Click the links below to view MMSD's climate survey results from 2017-18, including responses from students, staff, and parents.

Student Scorecard
Student Trends
Staff Scorecard
Staff Trends
Parent Scorecard
Parent Trends
Central Office Staff Scorecard

2017-18 Climate Survey Reports
The climate survey reports focus on how various groups experience school climate and highlight areas of interest related to district priorities, goals, or school improvement. The report are currently being made accessible for posting and will be posted to this webpage in the near future.

View 2016-17 Results
View 2015-16 Results
View 2014-15 Results

Survey Administration & Reporting

Research & Program Evaluation Office logo

MMSD students in grades 3-12, parents with children currently enrolled in MMSD, and full-time staff participate in the climate survey, which we administer annually every winter.  MMSD sends climate surveys (available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Hmong) electronically.  Parents without email addresses receive paper copies of the survey.  

The Research & Program Evaluation Office analyzes all climate survey results and creates resources and materials that are made available to staff and are reported publicly in the MMSD Annual Report.
 

Survey Development

Teacher Giving Student High Five.

We developed and administered our new climate surveys for the first time in 2014-15, having previously measured school climate from 1996 to 2011.  The collaborative development process was guided by advisory and steering committee reviews that ensured questions were constructed properly and measured what they intended to measure.  The process began with a literature review on school climate research which focused on articles such as A Review of School Climate Research, Review of Educational Research, and family engagement research from Harvard University.  Then the district convened three survey workgroups comprised of teachers, parents, and representatives from a variety of community organizations.  Student input was also obtained.  The workgroups reviewed existing literature, the district's previous climate surveys' questions, and discussed what areas of climate needed further exploration in the new surveys.  During survey development, new items were aligned in both format and content with questions from other survey instruments known to be reliable and valid, such as Welcoming Schools, The Effective School Battery, and the Self-Assessment School Culture Triage.  Survey items are reviewed yearly for content and clarity.

If you have questions, please contact Jill Brown in the Research and Program Evaluation Office
(608-663-1966; jabrown@madison.k12.wi.us).