How to Increase Student Responses to School Surveys

Just like getting students to volunteer in class, getting them to respond to school surveys is hard.  Your school does a survey to get good data from many people, not just a few. Looking at trends from a high percentage of people attending your school is how you are going to make better decisions, but getting a good response rate from students is hard.

This article explores ideas and methods to obtain more replies from your high school students’ surveys.  While we hope you use Outstanda Pulse to collect meaningful data from students, these tips are valid whether you use email, Survey Monkey, Google Docs, or any other survey system to survey the students in your school.

Stress the Importance of the Survey

Stressing the importance of the survey with your students and staff is vital to the success of any survey. Schools run on metrics; enrollment, testing scores, grades, attendance, and other important data points are essential to a school.  Your survey should be focused on collecting data that can help you improve. It is critical to make sure everyone understands the importance of getting feedback from them. The importance of getting honest answers to collect accurate data to help improve the school even when everything seems fine cannot be stressed enough.

Social Media

Parental and student interaction via social media varies extensively. Before sending the survey, write a post promoting it to get better results. If you are launching a new system, let your students and staff know what to look for in advance.  Use tools like Canva, Stencil, or Pixelied to make a nice social media post that will get noticed.


If your main form of communication is via email, and you’re sending the survey via SMS (texting), just like Outstanda Pulse does, send an email in advance to let them know the survey is coming. Stress the importance of obtaining data, whether is good, bad, or blasé.


On the other hand, if you regularly use a system to send out text messages, and you are going to send a survey via email, let them know it’s coming and to look for it in their inbox.

Post Signs

Using those same social media post images, you should be able to print small signs you can hang in the halls, cafeteria, and on doors. 

Teacher Reminders

During staff meetings, let teachers and staff know about the survey and the importance those surveys have in the success of the school. The main goal of Outstanda Pulse is to help the school achieve success, not to use the data collected to reprimand or punish people. Instead, it looks at trends over time and helps schools address core problems.  Let teachers know that they should promote the surveys–perhaps giving a moment or two where everyone can log in and complete the survey at the beginning of class.

Thank You – Announcement

Thank the participants of the survey publicly for their collaboration and contribution to the school.  Circulate information pertaining to the school such as improved response rate, or school satisfaction, especially if school satisfaction is staying high.  Psychologically, people appreciate being recognized and will continue to respond in the future.  When other unwilling participants see their peers being recognized and thanked publicly, they are more likely to go back and answer your survey or begin to do so in the future.

New Student Orientation

Communication is important. If you are going to do surveys, and are going to do them frequently, let your new students know about them. Let them know about the frequency, method, and importance of responding to those surveys. Because of the importance of data trends, surveys should be done frequently. The first couple of data points from a new student are worth zooming in, as they are the first data points from them. They can also be an indication of the student’s adjustment level.  An unhappy new student could turn around and leave, impacting your enrollment numbers and hurting the student’s progress.

Let Parents Know

Parents should know about the surveys. Let them know how you are going to use the data, why is important to collect the data, and how it will help their student. Ask them to remind their child to complete the student survey when they get it.  If you are using Outstanda Pulse, do a monthly parent survey as well.  This parent survey will serve as a reminder, and perhaps a topic of conversation between parent and child.

Train Students to Respond

Once you get students’ response rate up, keep doing surveys on a regular, frequent basis. Making the students aware of the importance of collecting data to improve the school, and the administration’s appreciation for their feedback will make the job of getting the survey response data much easier. This is even more true if your survey is easy enough to be completed in 60 seconds or less.

Outstanda Pulse is specifically designed to help schools collect valuable data from students, parents, and staff through recurring surveys that go out automatically via SMS and take less than 60 seconds to complete.  Administrators need only to use the data dashboard to see the results and find areas to address for improvement.  Once students’ response rates are good, the regularity of surveys will allow you to keep students, teachers and parents engaged and responsive.

School Boards that want to help schools more, need to have actionable data that is updated on a regular basis and allow for trend analysis.  Outstanda Pulse is a system that helps you publish surveys for parents, staff, and students, and gives you access to valuable data that can boost school performance.