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For Healthy Christian Schools (719) 278-9600

Frequently Asked Questions About Research

Why should we conduct a yearly survey?

Christian education is a high cost purchase, centered around that which is most important to parents — their children.  The practical implication:  parents need to be wildly enthusiastic about the quality of your program — or they will go somewhere else.  Quality gap tolerances are narrow, and perceptions of quality do change from year to year, often significantly. GraceWorks’ Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey is highly sensitive to changes in parental satisfaction, down to a program elements level.   Because so much is percentile ranked, it is difficult to minimize quality problems.  The natural human tendency is to minimize our problems, but in our highly demanding environment (charter schools, home schools, online education, ever-reforming public schools) we have no choice but to deal with our own blemishes head-on.

How are GraceWorks’ surveys better than doing our own?

GraceWorks surveys are better than homegrown surveys for four basic reasons.  First, we use normed data.  With over 100,000 respondents to a GraceWorks survey, we have normed data for over 100 key Christian school variables.  (We typically can work this data into even custom surveys).  Normed data gives you a comparison of your school (and often, subgroups) to all other schools in our database.  Over time, you’ll be able to see your school improve.  As your school improves, the improvement itself can be a powerful marketing tool. Second, we score it — in a far more robust way than you could possibly do on your own.  Since 2006, we’ve spent over 1,000 hours refining the scoring of our Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey.  It is statistically accurate and scientifically validated.  Third, our surveys are generally better designed.  After well-over 500 surveys, we’ve learned a lot!  What we’ve learned is that questions must be properly crafted to get accurate data.  Homemade surveys often don’t ask the questions properly; data is collected, but it is not actionable.  Fourth, our surveys have a key focus - the critical problem of increasing enrollment.

What is an acceptable response rate?

For parents, 40% is acceptable for midsize and larger schools.  For schools with 150 total parents (both moms and dads) 60% is better.  For really large schools, there is little new information learned after about 600 responses.  For large conference or district level studies, 600 is usually adequate as well, although the randomness of the respondents must be monitored.

What are the best times of the year to administer a parent satisfaction survey?

The best two times of the year to administer a parent survey are late Fall – late October to early December — and mid-Spring (mid-February through mid-April).   A late Fall administration allows the opportunity for mid-year course corrections.   Doing the survey in the Spring gives you the opportunity to address concerns over the course of the summer.  GraceWorks interprets surveys year-round.   Do you have a Spanish version of the Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey? Yes. If other languages are needed, we have the capability to offer it as well — as long as you can translate.

When can we see the questions of the PSRS survey itself?

Anyone who pays for either the Standard or Advanced version of the Parent Satisfaction and Referral Survey can see the questions.  We do provide a complete description of the survey (request at the upper left of this page) for those who are considering the PSRS.  A great deal of time and refinement went into the design of the survey itself.

How long does the process take?

An Advanced survey can take 6-7 weeks – 1 to 2 weeks to set up and finalize all custom questions, 4 weeks for your constituents to respond, another week to score and review results.  Because a standard  survey does not have custom questions, these are completed in 4-5 weeks, although we have completed them in as little as three.

We have multiple campuses, will one survey work?

It depends.  If your various campuses are split, grade wise, such that Preschool, elementary, middle and high school are all housed together, one Advanced PSRS survey will probably work.  On the other hand, if your campuses are more geographically separated, or multiple campuses contain the same division (e.g. middle school kids at two campuses) then we will need to “split” your data while scoring.  Usually we can use the same survey for both campuses, but we are forced to charge for the processing of each split. Each split is essentially the same as scoring a survey from scratch.

We are considering having GraceWorks conduct a major custom research project. 

What is the first step?

The first step is to set up a consultation with Dan Krause, Founder and President of GraceWorks.  Request an appointment at (719) 278-9600, ext. 400.  You can also request an appointment with the form in the left panel of this page.    
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