A groundbreaking survey… the beginning of what will quickly become the largest-ever survey of American children… These phrases were used to describe the new Gallup Student Poll, a ten year effort to survey students across the United States. The first Poll surveyed over 70,000 students in 18 states and D.C. from grades 5 through 12. The results were released early May.
The survey measured hope, engagement and well-being, three measures “shown to have a meaningful impact on educational outcomes and more importantly can be improved through deliberate action by educators, school administrators, community leaders, and others.” Aimed at addressing the high rate of school dropouts, the survey is considered groundbreaking because of its size and its direct involvement of students. Check out the report for more details, but a few findings to get you interested:
- Half of students are hopeful, a statistic that changes little over grade levels.
- Student engagement is highest during elementary school, decreases through middle school and 10th grade and plateaus through 12th grade.
- 95% say they know they will graduate from high school, compared to a national graduation rate of 75%,
- Just over half of students said they were treated with respect all day the day before.
The survey will be administered twice every school year and new schools are welcome to sign up. Data is analyzed by Gallup and then made available to schools and city leaders. There is no fee for participation and all student information is confidential. Any schools interested in participating can register at www.gallupstudentpoll.com
Although highlighting that these measures are “malleable and can be enhanced through deliberate action” this report does not make recommendations for ways to address hope, engagement or well-being. I’m particularly intrigued by hope, because it isn’t one I’ve seen much written about, nor could I readily list off organizational actions to address it. For the 20% of students who believe they will graduate while the statistics say otherwise, how can hope factor in?
Image was taken by Michael Surran and is used under a Creative Commons license from flickr user Extra Ketchup.