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FAQs for California Participants

Who should take the survey?

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The CSPS is generally offered to all parents and caregivers in a school or district. Sampling a smaller population presents serious technical obstacles, although it can be discussed with Regional Survey Center staff.

How is the survey coordinated?

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When conducted as part of a coordinated CHKS and/or CSSS administration, the district CHKS coordinator schedules the CSPS, provides the number of parents at each participating school, and submits any questions that the district would like added. CSPS instructions are mailed along with the CHKS materials. The CSPS coordinator plans the surveys, distributes the materials, and monitors survey completion.

A school or district can also conduct the CSPS at any time, without conducting the CHKS or CSSS. In this case, a single individual must be designed as the point of contact with the Cal-SCHLS Regional Survey Center.

How is the survey administered?

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The CSPS is available in California in two formats:

In the on-line version, parents complete the survey via the Internet using a school-specific login and follow simple instructions. This approach may work for schools where the vast majority of parents have access to, and experience using, the Internet. The approach is not a good choice in communities where computer access is limited.

The paper version uses the familiar fill-the-circle, optical-read technology. The survey consists of a single, double-sided sheet with both the questions and answer bubbles on the same paper. Instructions for completing and returning the survey are included on a second sheet.

How can we get the highest response rate?

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Obtaining a high response rate from parents is a challenging task, especially in communities with special issues. The following steps apply whether parents receive a paper survey or a request to go to the website to complete the survey:

  • Notify parents about the survey early and often. When possible, discuss the survey early in the school year, at parent meetings, and in the school newsletter, well in advance of actual implementation. As the survey date approaches, consider large signs around the parking area, pick-up/drop-off areas, and on school grounds.
  • Let parents know WHY you are conducting the survey, and what you plan to do with the findings.
  • Consider using existing events that draw parents to complete surveys. Parents can use school computers for the web or complete paper surveys at ‘back to school night’, at public meetings, and even at special stations near pick up/drop off locations.
  • Conduct as much follow-up as possible in the 5-10 days after survey distribution. Use mail, newsletters, notes home, signs at school and other strategies. If the school staff takes getting a high return seriously, more parents will take the survey seriously and respond.

How can we know if our response rate is valid?

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The most important factor in achieving a valid sample is obtaining the highest response rate possible. Determining the extent to which a “low” return rate leads to an invalid sample is a challenging research task beyond the scope of most districts. Because the survey is completely anonymous, there is no practical way to determine who did or did not respond. Although references can be found that suggest a 60 or 70 percent rate is needed for validity, the best strategy is to simply follow the steps outlined in this site and from the Cal-SCHLS Regional Survey Center to achieve the highest rate possible.

In what languages is the survey available?

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The survey is available in Spanish, Tagalog, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Farsi (Persian), German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Lao, Continental Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Chinese, Samoan, Somali, Urdu, Western Armenian, and Eastern Armenian.  English and Spanish surveys are available as online and paper surveys.  All other languages are available as a paper-version only.

How is confidentiality maintained?

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The survey is anonymous and all results are confidential. Background information is collected to enable districts to determine the extent to which the respondents are representative of the general population and to enable analyses of the results by subgroups. However, to preserve confidentiality, no information is provided that is derived from any subgroups of less than five respondents.

How are the results reported?

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Survey results will be prepared by the Cal-SCHLS Regional Survey Center and provided in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. The District-level results consist of several introductory pages to help readers interpret the data, followed by a series of data tables that summarize the responses to each question in the survey (including any custom questions). School-level reports are available for a low fee.

Who has access to the data?

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The results are for the use of the district to guide program decision-making and school-improvement efforts. Districts are not being assessed based on these results. Any requests for data will be referred to the district. Anyone having access to the dataset must sign a Memorandum of Understanding to preserve this confidentiality.

How do I sign up?

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It’s easy, just review this site and the survey, then call your Regional Survey Center at 888.841.7536


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