52 Effective Parent Survey Questions For Meaningful Feedback

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Each family survey question, when carefully crafted, can be a powerful tool to leverage when you need information from your staff, families, or students. Asking what families need, when they are best able to attend events, and what they are thinking about is a major step toward building relationships with parents and increasing their engagement. As we know, family engagement is a critical lever to boost student outcomes

You may want to ask about communication, academic support, a recent event, or more. Getting this feedback can be scary – but you can win at parent engagement

What should be included in a parent survey?

When deciding on the questions you want to ask your families, first, you will want to consider what decisions you need to make with the information, and how specifically you will use the answers. Some schools use annual surveys that take parents 15-20 minutes to complete, and include dozens of questions. At Possip, we offer this through our Long Form or Strategic Surveys. Questions may include everything from impressions about school climate, reflections on school-sponsored events, thoughts on academic preparation, barriers, and needs, and ideas and questions.

We’ve found that simply asking if parents are happy with their child’s school, what ideas or feedback they have, and one additional custom question (we call it a Bonus Question) can yield incredible data. We call these Pulse Checks®. With short and simple surveys, parents are more likely to respond and even more likely to complete the entire survey. They also get used to the cadence (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc), and if they know the school is responsive to their feedback, parents will consistently use the quick survey to voice their opinions. Short and simple surveys are easier to translate into more languages accurately, helping you engage with and include more of your families.

What is an example of a good survey question?

One key decision you’ll want to make is whether to ask an open-ended question or a closed-ended one, where you provide the answer choices.  When deciding between an open-ended or closed-ended question, it can be helpful to think about what you want to learn and the nuances of each question type:

Do you want to explore a topic and generate a list of ideas or praise? If so, using an open-ended question will give you a lot of feedback and ideas.

    • Open-ended questions allow you to explore, and you may learn more than you expected. People may share feedback or ideas that you didn’t anticipate. This can be beneficial in helping you learn more about a topic. 

    • To be effective with open-ended questions, you’ll want to ensure your question wording is very clear so that the answers provided serve your needs. 

Do you need input on specific options or choices? Are there only certain answers that are feasible or relevant to your decision? In this case, a close-ended question that includes predefined answer options is best. 

    • Since close-ended questions ask people to select from a list of predefined responses, you won’t end up with answers that you weren’t expecting. Responses will be consistent and relevant to the question.

    • Do you want a quantitative analysis? Closed-ended questions with a list of options or Yes/No answers are the most appropriate for a quick and clear analysis–a graph of your results at both a school and district level. 

In some cases, Possip can help you get a quantitative analysis, even from an open-ended question. Possip Partners, reach out to your Possip Relationship Manager or our Possip Support Team to explore this option if you need to quantify open-ended input. For more guidance on writing great questions, check out this article.

We’ve compiled a list of effective parent survey questions to consider and sorted them for you by topic!

Example Parent Survey Questions

Parent Survey Questions for the Beginning of the Year

Sample questions to ask in the first month of school:

    1. Do you have the materials and resources you need for your student to succeed in school this year: Yes or No? If No, please tell us more about your needs.
    2. Do you feel you received enough school communication to start the school year? Yes, Mostly, or No
    3. Please share one thing your student’s teacher did to make them feel excited to start the year.
    4. Please share something specific that had a positive impact on your student during the first few weeks of school. (i.e. extracurriculars, academics, registration, teacher, etc.)
    5. How do you prefer to receive communication from the school? Please reply with the number of your choice below: 1) Text 2) Email 3) Social Media 4) Newsletter 5) Robocall
    6. We’re planning family and parent events for the school year. Please reply with the number of the one event you’re most interested in. (List your potential events here, i.e. 1) Back to School BBQ 2) Turkey Bingo, etc.)

Parent Survey Questions for Academics: Curriculum & Support

Sample questions to ask about curriculum, grades, and academic support:

    1. What types of academic support would you like to see at school this year? Please respond with the number of all supports you would like to see provided. 1) Tutoring; 2) Advanced work; 3) Small group support; 4) Homework help;  5) Other
    2. What academic support does your student need at this time?
    3. What academic goals do you have for your student this year?
    4. Are you able to clearly understand your student’s academic performance and progress (e.g. assignments, grades, attendance) using our school’s online tools? Please reply: Yes, Mostly, or No
    5. Do you contact your student’s teachers when you have concerns about their academic progress? Please reply: Yes, Sometimes, or No.
    6. Do you feel informed about your student’s academic progress? Please reply: Yes, Mostly, or No.
    7. Do you feel our school supports your student successfully in terms of their academic needs?
    8. What resources do you need to support your student’s learning at home? Please reply with your top choice: 1) Tips for learning at home; 2) Tutoring; 3) Tools for standardized test preparation; 4) 504 support; 5) Tools for emotional and social learning 6) Other, please explain 7) None
    9. Are you satisfied with the amount and quality of homework your student receives? Please reply: Yes, Mostly, or No.
    10. How do you feel about how much your student uses technology at school?  Please reply: 1) Too much 2) Too little  3) Just enough

Parent Survey Questions for Attendance

Sample questions to learn more about barriers to student attendance:

    1. Attendance every day is critical. Do you have any barriers that prevent your student from attending school?
    2. Are you concerned about your child’s school attendance? Please reply: Yes or No. If yes, let us know why and please share your name so we can help.
    3. Do you have any barriers to getting your students to school each day? Please reply: Yes or No.  If yes, please reply with your top barrier. 1) Health 2) Transportation 3) Suspension 4) Language barriers 5) Other
    4. Would any of the following help encourage your student to attend school every day? Please reply with all that apply: 1) Transportation assistance 2) Language assistance 3) School breakfast 4) More extracurricular activities 5) Emotional-support centers in school 6) A support person, like a mentor
    5. What motivates your child to attend school? Please reply with all that apply. 1) Getting to be with friends; 2) Teachers/Staff Members; 3) Course choices; 4) Becoming college ready; 5) In-school activities; 6) After-school activities; 7) Other (please explain what else motivates your child to attend)

Parent Survey Questions for Carline and Bus Transportation

Sample questions about the family experience with the school carline and bus transportation:

    1. Are you currently satisfied with school bus transportation this year? Please reply: Yes or No.  If no, please share why.
    2. Is our carline running safely and efficiently? Please reply: Yes or No. If no, please share any suggestions you have for improving the carline.
    3. Have you seen improvement in the carline since the start of the year? Please reply: Yes or No, and tell us why.

Parent Survey Questions for Registration and Enrollment

Sample questions to ask to assist with registration, enrollment, and re-enrollment:

    1. Will you be enrolling your student for the next school year? Please reply: Yes, Maybe, No or Graduating
    2. How would you rate your experience with the 20xx-20xx school year registration process? 1) Very easy 2) Somewhat easy 3) Somewhat hard 4) Very hard  5) Other – please specify

Parent Survey Questions to Gather Praise

    1. What is one specific way your student has grown academically or socially since being at [school name]? 1) Organizational skills, 2) Study skills, 3) Academic progress, 4) Improved time management, 5) Other, please explain
    2. What is one specific way your child has felt celebrated this year? 1)Teacher email, 2) Award Ceremony, 3) Certificate of recognition, 4) Honors List, 5) Awards breakfast/lunch
    3. What is something specific that had positive impact on your student during the first few weeks of school? [timeline can be changed i.e. month, quarter, semester] 1) Teacher, 2) Support Staff (Guidance, Social Worker, Dean), 3) Extracurricular Activity, 4) Classroom Environment, 5) Peer interactions
    4. As we prepare for the end of the semester, we want to recognize the positive impact our teachers and staff have had on your students. Please share where you’ve seen or heard our staff support your child, and Select all that apply. 1) Offered extra academic support, 2) Created a positive learning environment, 3) Encouraged classroom engagement, 4) Collaborated with support services, 5) Demonstrated empathy and understanding, 6) Celebrated student progress 7) Other, please explain

Parent Survey Questions for Teacher Appreciation

    1. What do you like most about [school name]? 1) Sense of community 2) Academic opportunities 3) Opportunity for social/emotional development 3) Teachers and staff 4) Strong sense of school spirit 4) Extracurricular offerings 5) Level of support offered to my child 6) Other, please share
    2. Does your student have a teacher that does a great job engaging them in class? Please respond: Yes, Mostly, or No.  If Yes, what does that teacher do?
    3. Are there specific school programs that you believe have been beneficial for your student this [insert time frame]? (Option to include list of programs offered)
    4. What has made you feel welcomed at your student’s school this year? 
    5. Please share the name of a teacher or team member at your child’s school who has made positive impact on your child this year. What did they do?
    6. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, is there a teacher or staff member you’d like to recognize with praise? Reply with a comment for us to share with them.

Parent Survey Questions for Teacher and Grade Communication

Sample questions about communication with and by teachers or about grades:

    1. Are you happy with the communication you get from your student’s teachers? Please reply: Yes, Mostly. or No.
    2. Did you attend the recent parent-teacher conferences? Please reply: Yes or No, and if no, please let us know why: 1)Transportation 2) Language differences 3) Scheduling conflict 4) Did not receive an invitation 5) Other, please explain
    3. Did our Parent Teacher Conferences help you better understand your student’s progress? Please reply: Yes, Mostly, or No.
    4. How useful was your recent Parent Teacher Conference in understanding your student’s experience at our school?  Please respond 1) Very useful 2) Useful 3) Somewhat useful 4) Not useful
    5. Do you find it easy to contact your student’s teacher when you need to? Please reply Yes, Mostly, or No.
    6. Have you heard from all of your student’s teachers? Please reply: Yes, Mostly, or No.
    7. Do you need additional support with any of the following? Please select all that apply: 1) Knowing how to access your student’s grades 2) Contacting your student’s teacher 3) Understanding assignments
    8. State testing begins next month (insert dates). What resources would be most helpful as we think about testing? Please select all that apply.1)Tips on how to support your student on test-taking days 2) Support in understanding your student’s scores 3) A calendar with specific dates and content area tested each day 4) A list of what students needs to bring 5) Info on any schedule changes 6) Other – please share!
    9. Do you feel confident that {{School Name}} is preparing your child to succeed academically? Please reply Yes, Mostly, or No.

Parent Survey Questions for Family Engagement

Sample questions to ask about family events and experiences in your school community:

    1. Do you feel a part of the community in our school? Please reply: Yes, Maybe, or No, and share why
    2. What kind of family information sessions or family activities would you like to see at school?
    3. What feedback do you have for our recent _____ event?
    4. Are you coming to the event “___________” on “_________(date)”? Please reply: Yes, Maybe, or No. Learn more about the event here: ADD LINK WITH INFO
    5. Did you attend the recent parent-teacher conferences? Please reply: Yes or No, and if no, please let us know why: 1) Transportation 2) Language differences 3) Scheduling conflict 4) Did not receive an invitation 5) Other, please explain
    6. Are there any barriers that prevent you from attending our family events? Please select all that apply: 1) Transportation 2) Language 3) Work 4) Time conflict 5) Childcare Challenges (Options can be customized) 

In addition, check out how Better Questions to Increase Family Turnout.

The Possip team is ready to help you ask effective parent survey questions. We have examples that cover additional topics like school safety and AI. Then, we’ll do the heavy lifting of analyzing the results for you so you can focus on how you’re going to use this valuable information!

parent engagement ideas