School Survey: Culture, climate improved

While students in the Oxford district were taking exams, the district underwent a test of its own this year and the results are in.

District officials distributed surveys in February and March 2016 to help gauge district performance and potential areas of improvement. The survey results were posted on the Oxford Schools website June 10.

The surveys are broken up into a general summary, individually by schools, and are compared to national averages.

“In my looking at this, this is a template for us to utilize to have an excellent school district in terms of responding to the needs of our district, monitoring them for progress and then evaluate them again with a survey at the end… this has never been done before in our district to this degree,” said Oxford School Board Trustee Mike Schweig at a June 22 board meeting.

Scores are interpreted as 5 percent below/above the national average being considered relative strengths/weaknesses, while 10 percent above/below the national average is considered a very positive strength or an area for immediate improvement.

This year there were four surveys– two surveys more than were distributed last year. Surveys were given to students, parents/community members, teachers, and employees throughout the district.

The first surveys, directed at students grades 6-12, showed perceptions of “flexible teaching styles” and “engaged learning” in the classroom to both be over 3 percent lower than the national average.

The second survey, geared towards parent/community engagement, listed Oxford’s “responsiveness” score as being nearly seven percent lower than the national average. However, that score showed an improvement from last year’s results of 7.7 percent lower than the average.

The third survey, gauging “employee culture and climate” scored higher in all dimensions for the 2015-16 year than the previous year.

“I do remember from the results two years ago, culture and climate was one of our biggest areas (to improve on) and so we specifically addressed that this year. I was really happy to see that,” said Superintendent Tim Throne.

The fourth survey measured “teacher attitude.” That summary showed four dimensions, including teacher’s perspectives on the state and federal role in public education, as rating significantly lower at Oxford Schools than the national average.

For the “teacher attitude” survey, Oxford Schools scored significantly higher than the national average in two dimensions. Oxford teachers scored 9.65 percent higher than the national average in their perceived value of parents in public education and 8.26 percent higher in their rating of relationships with their students.

Throne said although the scores will help guide Oxford improvement plans, the survey scores are just one tool at the district’s disposal. “We also have parents coming into our building every day and talking to parents and teachers and talking with our administrators at conferences… This is great feedback and great information to help us move forward, but it’s just one tool to get to that data to help us try to improve,” Throne told this reporter.

For a look at the survey results and more on how to interpret the results, visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *