Mandatory Survey Leaves Students and Teachers With Questions

An online accreditation survey taken Sept. 20 drew criticism for narrow, redundant answer choices


The Shakerite

This certificate is recognizing the district being successfully accredited for 100 years, which is hanging in Assistant Principal Sara Chengelis’ office. Accreditation is a voluntary service created more than 100 years ago that helps determine the quality of a school and helps discern stronger schools from struggling schools.

Tenth through 12th graders and faculty expressed irritation and confusion about an online accreditation survey administered Sept. 20 during the second period.

The accreditation survey, provided by AdvancED, is taken every five to seven years and serves as an evaluator of schools. Accreditation is a voluntary service created more than 100 years ago that helps determine the quality of a school and helps discern stronger schools from struggling schools. AdvancED is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits primary and secondary schools internationally, according to the AdvancED website.

According to Assistant Principal Sara Chengelis, the district pays AdvancED $900 annually for their services and an additional $1,400 every five years when AdvancED conducts the survey and visits Shaker schools. This amount does not include travel fees for the employees who come to Shaker.

Four surveys were issued, two unique to teachers, and two unique to students, with questions regarding academic engagement and school climate. Some questions included “School success to me is…” and “What do you enjoy most about your school?” People thought answers were very limiting and biased, forcing students to answer in a swayed direction. Some of the answers included were, “I rarely prepare for tests” and “I never want to miss school.” Other questions had students choose four words out of 10 to 20 to show the school lifestyle. Many of the words provided were synonyms to other words on the list.

Chengelis is in charge of collaborating with AdvancED and accreditation. She said Shaker did not contribute to the survey except for a few questions. “There were a couple questions that were added in regard to IB,” she said. A similar survey was administered five years ago, but Chengelis said she did not come across any memorable comments about the survey. This year however, she sensed some frustration.

History teacher Kyle Fleming did not care for the survey. “It was leading questions and didn’t let me answer the right way. They never gave me a chance to answer truthfully,” he said. Fleming added that some of his colleagues felt similarly.

Some students also said the survey did not capture their authentic feelings. “There was a lot of stuff I wouldn’t say. A lot of things were opinionated to make the teachers look bad, and I didn’t agree with it, honestly,” senior Nasir Rashid said. Rashid thought the answers could be useful “If we could have plugged in our own,” he said.

Freshmen did not take the survey because they were attending a student council assembly. Sophomore Maxim Ehlers said that the decision was appropriate.“I don’t think the freshmen know the school that well,” he said. He went on to say it’s better for freshmen to experience the school atmosphere before taking a survey about it. Some of the questions would have been met with confused answers by freshmen, he added.

Senior Ava Byrne said the survey seemed familiar. “We’ve taken so many surveys, just kind similar to this, it doesn’t really faze us anymore,” she said.

Junior Tae’Lore Brown was skeptical of how much the survey would affect school environment. Brown said, “I just wanna know why we do it if ain’t nothing gonna’ change.”

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