Education-based surveys: 5 things to include

Gathering data from students, teachers and parents can help highlight how a school is performing and provide information for maintaining and improving standards.

In the education setting, numerous types of feedback can be gained through survey software, which can be critical to the teacher-learning processes.

Regular evaluation helps educational providers build learning programs, assess student and teacher performance, and make improvements in teaching methods, materials and processes that benefit both teachers and students.

A survey goal

Set clear survey goals with every education survey. Focusing on a single objective will help you achieve quality responses.

There are numerous topics and audiences you could address through surveys, but you should keep each survey focused on one at a time. Trying to cover too many different topics can make your surveys too long and you may not be able to cover a specific topic as thoroughly as you would like.

Education surveys can be used for a range of purposes including course feedback, teacher/trainer evaluation, students satisfaction, faculty satisfaction, and evaluation of learning/training programs

You want an education survey to provide that can be used to improve educational outcomes, so only use questions that will give you data that can be put into an action plan.

The right questions

With the right survey questions, educational facilities can better understand factors that affect staff satisfaction and take steps to ensure employees are engaged and properly supported in providing their students with the best educational experience

Think about the information you want from your education survey. This will impact the usefulness of questions when gathering data.Surveys aimed at gathering teacher feedback will utilise different question types to those asking about student satisfaction.

Yes/no questions may be the most suitable option if you just want a definitive answer, whereas scale rating questions are best for gauging opinion on various learning processes, school environment or overall satisfaction.


Consistent surveys obtain more reliable responses. Rating scale questions can be great for using in education surveys, but if you include them, make sure you keep them consistent.

These types of questions allow you to gather varying degrees of opinion, whether using a number scale or choosing from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. Keep the same number of points on a scale on all your rating scale questions and the same definition of high and low with each rating question.

Changing this within one survey can lead to confusion and unreliable results.

A target audience

Think carefully about your audience. Is your survey aimed at students or teachers? This will impact the type of questions you use as well as how the data will be used.

You should not target both teachers and students with one survey as they are very different audiences, and you will generally be targeting them for different reasons.

It’s always important to make your survey questions as clear as possible and use easy to understand language, but this is especially important for student surveys, where your survey participants are within a younger age bracket. Make sure you don’t use any terms they may struggle with, use wording that is familiar to them.

Teachers will be able to provide valuable feedback on learning processes and potential areas of improvement, so you may want to provide them with the option to give more in-depth answers.

Parents are as involved in education as teachers and students, and like to be kept updated on any new developments. Surveys can be used to engage with parents and find out how they feel about their child’s schooling experience, areas they would like to see improvement in or suggestions of how they can be more involved.

A neutral response option

It’s always a good idea to include an option for survey respondents to answer “I don’t know” or  “unsure”, no matter the audience or purpose of the survey.

Surveys questions need to include a neutral response option for those who are unsure of how to answer, or don’t have a strong feeling on the topic being asked about. This ensures you don’t end up with inaccurate answers that may skew your results.

If you include the option for participants to choose “other” as a response within a multiple choice question, you may also want to include a textbox to allow for further elaboration of answers and get the information you need.

Survey software can be a valuable tool for educational institutions to gather feedback and opinions from both educators and learners.