ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — March 30, 2009 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) announced today the results of its 2008-2009 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS).
The survey is administered every other year to sponsors with children in pre-kindergarten - 12th grade and students in 4-12th grade. For the 2008-2009 survey, more than 18,000 sponsors responded to the survey and more than 35,000 4th-12th grade students responded to the survey. These statistics represent a response rate of 25% of eligible sponsors (up slightly from 23% in the previous survey) and 75% of eligible students (equaling the percentage of student respondents in the previous survey).
View the Survey Results2008-09 Survey Results
2008-09 Survey Executive
This year's survey marked the first time DoDEA teachers, administrators and educational support staff did not participate in the Customer Satisfaction Survey. These groups are participating in DoDEA's Employee Satisfaction Survey, which is currently being administered to DoDEA employees worldwide.
"The information we receive through this survey is critical to DoDEA's efforts toward continuous improvement," said Dr. Shirley A. Miles, DoDEA Director. "We want to thank everyone who participated - the opinions of our students and families are important and they provide insight into the education we provide. This survey helps us know what's working and how we can improve what we do for children to ensure highest achievement for all our students," she added.
Questions posed in the survey related to school issues such as curriculum, instruction, standards, assessment, technology, student support, and communication. The survey was developed through a review process of various groups, including DoDEA Area and district representatives, DoDEA's Education Directorate staff, and external sources, such as the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC). Some questions were taken from the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward Schools with additional DoDEA-specific questions.
The survey was open to participants from November 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009. Parents and students could access the survey on-line, and offered respondents an opportunity to express their satisfaction with a number of services as well as identify areas of concern.
Highlights of Overall Education Results
Overall, 74% of sponsors and 72% of students were satisfied with DoDEA schools. Sponsors and students were almost equally satisfied with their specific school, with 75% of sponsors and 72% of students rating their school with an A or B. Nationally, 62% of parents rated their child's school with an A or B.
Sponsors and students feel that overall, DoDEA schools are meeting their goal for all students to meet or exceed challenging academic standards, with 72% of sponsors and 70% of students giving their school an A or B. The sponsors' responses are consistent with the 2006-2007 survey, where 74% gave the same response. Students were not asked this question in the previous survey.
The majority of sponsors (54%) and students (57%) feel that DoDEA schools are somewhat effective in preparing students for the 21st Century. Approximately one-third felt DoDEA schools were very effective, with 35% of sponsors and 30% of students registering their opinion this way.
When asked to rank the top three actions with the most potential to improve their school, the actions most frequently selected as first by sponsors and students were: raising academic standards; reducing class size; and improving teacher qualifications and competence. While increasing academic support programs was not one of the actions most frequently mentioned as most important, it was the action most frequently selected overall (i.e. first, second, or third) by both sponsors and students. In contrast, improving administrative qualifications and competence and consistent discipline policies were the least frequently selected responses.
DoDEA parents differ from parents nationally in the emphasis placed on achievement testing. While 44% of parents nationally report there is too much emphasis on achievement testing, 15% of DoDEA parents and 22% of students reported the same. The majority of DoDEA parents (57%) and students (48%) reported that there is about the right amount of emphasis. The results are similar to the 2006-2007 Customer Satisfaction Survey, where 59% of parents reported the right amount of emphasis on assessment and 16% reported there was too much emphasis on assessment. (Students were not asked this question in the previous survey.)
The majority of parents and students felt their school was somewhat effective (parents 44%, students 38%) or very effective (parents 39%, students 38%) in using computer technology as a tool for learning.
Slightly more than half of parents and students felt that the use of computer technology had improved the quality of instruction at their school, with 52% of parents and 53% of students responding this way. This represents a decline in the percentage of positive responses of parents from the previous survey (58%) but an increase for students over the previous survey (47%).
DoDEA faces unique circumstances that many of its counterparts in civilian communities do not face. Once of the circumstances is the transitory nature of its population, with many students transitioning between schools every two to three years due to the mobility of their military sponsors. Parents and students gave their school high marks in how well the school welcomes new students, with 74% of parents and 73% of students rating their school as A or B in this area. These results represent a slight decrease (5%) in parent responses, but a slight increase (2%) in the responses of students over the previous survey.
One of the primary avenues through which students receive support is through the schools' counselling services. Previous DoDEA Customer Satisfaction Surveys had asked only one question related to counselling services where students in grades 9-12 and their parents rated their school's counselling services related to students' future plans. This question has historically been an area with the least student and parent satisfaction and is an area of concern for DoDEA. In order to gain a better understanding for responses to this question several new questions were added to the current survey to better assess performance and identify areas of improvement.
Parents appear less positive than students in opinions of the counselling services overall at their school. While 62% of students graded their school's overall counselling services as A or B, only 46% of parents did so.
Students and parents also appear to either not utilize the counselling services at their school or are not aware or what constitutes counselling services. When students in grades 6-12 and their parents were asked if the student had used the counselling services at their school this year, only 34% of parents and 26% of students responded positively.
This year's results continue to show parent and student dissatisfaction in the counselling services related to students' future plans (college, work, military, etc.) with 50% of parents and 65% of students in grades 9-12 grading their school with an A or B in this area. This represents an 8% decrease in parent ratings from the previous survey (58%) but a 7% increase in the positive responses of students from the previous survey (58%).
More information about the results from student support and counselling-related questions is available in the Customer Satisfaction Survey Executive Summary and the results, posted on the DoDEA website.
Parents and students were overwhelmingly pleased with the communication they have with their school. Eighty-two percent (82%) or parents and 72% of students graded their school an A or B in communicating about academic progress. Parents and students also rated their schools favorably in communicating about student behavior, communicating information about student events, and how well their school responded to questions and concerns in a timely manner, although students are the least satisfied with the timeliness of response than parents.
A complete wrap-up of the Customer Satisfaction Survey results is available on the DoDEA website.
DoDEA will administer the next Customer Satisfaction Survey beginning in November 2010.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten - 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.