Increase Survey Responses from Students

If your school trying to get regular feedback by surveying students, you know it can be challenging.  We have assembled a list of ways to improve the response rate, as well as the quality of the response, your data is useful in improving your school.

Here at Outstanda, we specialize in micro-surveys, delivered in the most effective manner, and focused on actionable data collection that helps you make meaningful changes to school culture or do interventions with students in need.  Here are 9 ways to improve your survey results with your students.

Send Micro-Surveys – 30 seconds or less

Instead of sending a 10 or 20 question survey, send more frequent surveys with 2-5 questions in them, and that they can answer with one click.  When they know it is 30 seconds or less to answer your survey, they are more likely to click the link and tap through the responses.

Send More Frequently

Sending a message and a survey once a month is not something students are thinking about getting.  A lot of research has shown that more frequent communications result in more responses.  Of course, there is a happy medium, and some people will say they would like them less frequently.  But when you send a shorter survey weekly, or even a couple of times a week, people will “learn” to open and do them quickly.  The people that do not, would not have done it for less frequent contacts either.  While more frequent might lead to a small increase in opt-outs, it will also lead to a lot more data collected.

Send via SMS – Text Messaging

School leaders tell me that 95% of the responses they get are from text messages sent to the student’s phone.  Of course, this is older students, but this is an incredible result.  If you are working with younger students, survey their parents via SMS instead.  People in the US spend an average of 5.4 hours per day using their mobile phones.  There is no better way to reach people than to pop up where they are already looking with a custom message.  Outstanda integrates text messages with custom surveys to make it super easy for school administrators to automate data collection from their students, parents, and staff.

Follow Up on Results

There is nothing more frustrating than when you fill out a survey and never hear anything back.  Are they just doing a survey to say they did a survey?  When you follow up with students based on their answers or generally thank the students for being so good at providing feedback, they will know you are looking at it and it is more worth their time to answer your questions.

Post Signs

Hang small signs in your reception area or in the halls.  Let students know you will be sending out important, and short, surveys to them via text.  When they are expecting it, they are less likely to ignore something new from a new number.

Create an Incentive for Responses

If you continue to have trouble with responses, you could do a raffle each month.  Each response is an entry in a raffle.  Or you could reward people who answered their survey during the week with a dress down Friday, or some other perk you can give students for participating.

Filter Relevant Content to Right Students

If you are using a system like Outstanda Pulse, you can tag your audiences and send different surveys and messages to different groups.  If the male students get a survey about female health issues, they may be less likely to open the next survey.  (Or vice versa)

Use School Name in Text Message

It is important you use the school name in your messages so that it does not seem like spam to your students.  On a quick glance, the message should clearly come from your school even if they have not seen the particular phone number before.

Use a Local Phone Number

We all know what it is like to get a message from someone in another area code.  Out of state is even better (I mean worse).  If you want to have someone take the time to look at your message you should have a local phone number registered and use that number to text people.  Outstanda always registers a number for you as part of your setup and gets a local area code the same as the school, or from the same area if that is all that is available.

Plan for Replies and Calls

Once you have a messaging phone number, be prepared for people to think it is your main phone line by accident.  You do not want them to lose trust in your messaging phone number.  Outstanda sets up voice calls to the number to be routed to your main school phone number.  Reply messages go into the Outstanda Pulse dashboard where you can review them.  If the messages are from someone not registered in the system, then it bounces back to the sender.

All of these elements are critical to maximizing your student survey responses.  Improving your response rate, and the quality of your responses means having valuable data that can help you make decisions on student academic success, student wellness, school culture, and doing meaningful interventions before problems escalate for months.

Schools that want to improve need to have actionable data that is updated on a regular basis and allow for trend analysis.  Outstanda Pulse is a systems that helps you publish surveys for students, and gives you access to valuable data that can boost school performance in many areas.