Students and staff take MSDE pilot climate survey: Photo of the Day 11/8/18


Rachel McCoy

Jaylin Graziano finishes the Maryland Climate survey.

by Rachel McCoy, Reporter

On November 8, most students and staff took the MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education) pilot survey. The survey was administered during an extended PREP period. The survey explored student and teacher responses to school climate questions.  

Most of the school, grades 9 – 11, we’re taking the survey at the same time.  This caused slow computer response times, being locked out of the website, and other glitches that created some frustration, but students were able to finish in the extended time.  The survey had 11 individual pages, and the recommendation was to save at the end of each page.  This slow process made students impatient.

According to Frederick News Post at first, FCPS was unwilling to give the climate survey. The leadership was concerned about sacrificing valuable learning time because the survey is only a field test. However, the state threatened to withhold $21 million dollars in funding. The Frederick County Board of Education changed their stance and agreed to require the field test.

The last-minute requirement to complete the survey caused a lot of confusion and interrupted the daily routine. The survey was difficult to organize since all students had to be on a device at the same time–no phones allowed. 

The survey had many problems, starting off with that some people couldn’t access the survey through the link on the LHS website, this caused an announcement to be made explaining the alternate way to reach the survey. People were also having internet connections problems which caused the survey to take more time, slowly loading the eleven-page survey.

To prepare for the survey, the administration asked each PREP teacher to determine how many students had access to a Chromebook to take the survey. They had to train teachers, distribute materials, prepare student and staff passwords, and more.

Many teachers were concerned that the survey took up PREP time. Business teacher Leslie Parente said, “I’m disappointed that we can’t use PREP for students to do homework and get help with assignments. It is a valuable time for students.” 

The survey included four main topics: relationships, safety, environment, and engagement. The main topics were then divided into about two to four smaller topics, which each had about five questions. The survey did not ask anything about personal experiences but did ask about school safety, the environment of the school and interactions with students and staff.

“I was planning to get my work done today, and now I have to spend my time doing a survey. I am not very happy about this. It also wasted more time because the site kept crashing,” said sophomore Jaylin Graziano.

Assistant Principal Andrew McWilliams said, “From an organization point of view it went fine, but there were still problems from a combination of FCPS and MSDE.”

McWilliams explained that all students and staff will have to take it again in the spring, but, with more lead time, it will be easier to troubleshoot and administer the survey.