For Healthy Christian Schools (719) 278-9600

Research

At our core, GraceWorks is research-driven.  As of 2016, nearly 90,000 respondents from about 600 Christian school survey campaigns have taken one of GraceWorks Ministries' surveys.   You can order a complete description of our Parent Satisfaction using the request box to the left. You can learn about each of these surveys here: Standard Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey Advanced Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey GraceWorks’ Custom Research GraceWorks’ surveys have given us profound insights into the wants, needs, hopes and desires of parents and students alike.   Significantly, Christian schools have unique characteristics that elude general survey providers.  Here are five highly important examples:

Example #1:

The ratio of Promoters to Passives in the average Christian school is

often at least 15 times GREATER than the average business in

 

America. 

For the average business, a ratio of 1 Promoter to every 5 Passives is typical.  In the average Christian school, that ratio is reversed — 3-4 Promoters for every 1 Passive.  This fact has massive implications for a host of Practical Christian school topics, including:   A. How to recruit volunteers (aggressively and frequently), B. Why parents will pay higher tuition (and why most Christian schools did better in the Great Recession than they expected.) C. Why you should never offer financial incentives for referrals (Does Harley Davidson?) D. Why parents will tolerate significant tuition increases when needed. 

Example #2:

One question in a parental survey will typically predict about 15% of

satisfaction and willingness to refer for the average Christian school. 

That question is:  How would you compare the character of children at our Christian school to the character of children in public schools in your area?   Using a five-point Likert scale — much worse, somewhat worse, about the same, somewhat better, much better — we learned that “somewhat better” is simply NOT good enough.  Typically, respondents who answer “somewhat better” are less satisfied and willing to refer to a moderate or large degree (using standard effect sizes.)  Anything less than “somewhat better” is a statistical tsunami, with effect size differences in satisfaction less than -1.0.  (-0.6 is the cutoff for a large negative effect size.) Educational researchers love questions that predict 1/6 th  to 1/7 th  of any dependent variable (satisfaction here.)  So far, no academic version of this question (“how would you compare the academic achievement ….”) has come close to the predictive power of this question.  Conclusion:  Christian character development is Job 1 for Christian schools.  This has massive implications for how we think about evangelistic versus discipleship Christian schools, and student admissions standards.  In general, discipleship schools do better on parent satisfaction surveys, and we think this is the reason.

Example #3: 

Constituent satisfaction is highly correlated with willingness to refer,

volunteer, donate and serve on committees. 

Usually this is in multiples — Promoters are three times more likely to volunteer, donate, and serve than Passives.  And the difference is just two points on an 11-point Likert scale on one of our standard questions.   These same two points also apply to the question of who will tolerate a significant tuition increase, or sacrifice significantly to say at a Christian school, no matter what.  Promoters will stay and find a way.  Passives will re-consider the whole thing.  To repeat, just two points on an 11 point Likert scale make all the difference.

 Example #4:

Between 50-60% of parental satisfaction directly relates to teacher

performance. 

Through multi-year administration of the survey, we have learned that selective surgery often makes a huge difference.  Math and science are often concerning to parents, perhaps because the average Christian school cannot pay enough to attract top talent.  The most highly satisfying schools do take care of their personnel issues.  In reality, we have no choice.

Example #5:  Quality gap tolerances are very narrow. 

We have learned, for example, that on a five point scale, just one-half of 1 point indicates a problem.  In fact, on a five point, with five being high, only 4 or 5 is a good score.  Typically, the average effectiveness score should be over 4.0 for key program elements.  A rating of less than 4 typically indicates a problem for all but the least important program items.  (We test both importance and effectiveness together for key program elements.) These are just a few of the dozens of key findings we have learned over the years due to all of GraceWorks research.  As Christian school specialists, our research studies not only gather the essential data, we correlate it with our previous studies and give you the practical insights that allow you to take the actions that promote healthy school growth. To order a GraceWorks’ survey for your school, simply call us, (719)278-9600, ext. 400.  Or you can request more information by completing and submitting the form in the left panel of this page.
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