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Feedback from Graduates
Feedback from Graduates
Tom Mulligan
Friday, July 20, 2018

Getting Feedback from Arcola Graduates

For several years, the Arcola School District has worked with a company called LifeTrack Services Inc. who conduct an exit survey with the graduating seniors.  In addition to this survey, LifeTrack also conducts a follow-up survey one year after graduation and then five years after graduation.  The key for the follow-up surveys is getting enough participants to make the data worthwhile.  In other words, if the participation rate is too low, we are getting a very limited picture from our graduates.  The school district leadership team uses these results as one piece of data as the team plans school improvement efforts.

The following sections provide information on survey results from the 2018 graduates and the 2017 graduates one year after being out of high school.

Senior Exit Survey – Class of 2018

There were a total of 33 students that took the exit survey last spring.  Of those that took the survey: 30% indicated they planned to attend a four-year university; 67% indicated they planned to attend a 2-year college; 6% indicated they were joining the military; 15.15% indicated they would be working full-time and 12.12% indicated they would be working part-time.  Obviously, students could choose multiple answers on this question. In other words, they may be planning on attending a 2-year college and also working part-time. 

The following chart represents the graduates’ feelings about their experience in Arcola:

Question

Yes

Were school personnel helpful in the selection of a path to follow after graduation

90.9%

Did the staff encourage you to continue your education

100.0%

Were there enough elective classes offered for you to explore different career opportunities

78.8%

Do you think you will be able to easily find a job that can support you

100.0%

Did the staff provide you with adequate support applying for colleges and finding scholarship opportunities

97.0%

Did you have a positive learning experience at AHS

97.0%

 Overall, these were very positive results.  The district recently added an additional junior high-high school counselor to even further ensure students have one-on-one attention with planning for life after high school.  And due to adding additional high school teaching staff, the school will be offering additional electives in the 18-19 school year.

In another set of questions, students were asked to respond with “Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average or Needs Improvement.”  The following are chart shows the percentage of students that selected “Excellent,” “Good” and then “Excellent and Good” combined:

Question

Excellent

Good

Combined

Arcola High School (AHS) provided a safe learning environment

78.8%

15.2%

94.0%

AHS maintained a drug free environment

69.7%

12.1%

81.8%

AHS provided a strong foundation on the use of technology

72.7%

24.2%

96.9%

Teachers generally held high standards and demanded quality work

60.6%

39.4%

100.0%

Students/parents were regularly notified concerning academic progress

69.7%

24.2%

93.9%

I was challenged to experience academic growth annually

51.5%

36.7%

88.2%

How would you rate AHS as a learning environment

48.5%

42.4%

90.9%

 Again, these results seem to be very positive.

Postgraduate Survey - Class of 2017

Of the 53 graduates from the class of 2017, 42 of them had taken the senior exit survey in the spring of 2017.  LifeTrack attempted to contact all 53 graduates in late spring of 2018 and ended up with 35 completed surveys, which is a 66% return rate.

Of those that took the survey: 27.71% indicated they are attending a four-year university (this compares to 47.62% that indicated the previous year they would attend a 4-year college); 42.86% indicated they are attending a 2-year college (compared to 40.48%); 2.86% (compared to 7.14%) indicated they are in the military; 25.71% (compared to 11.9%) indicated they are working full-time and 37.14% (compared to 11.9%) indicated they would be working part-time.  These results indicate that more students are working than originally thought they would be and less students ended up attending a four-year college than had planned.

The questions on this survey are mostly different than on the senior exit survey.  The following chart represents questions that were asked in the form of yes or no answers: 

Question

Yes

Do you feel you received a quality education at Arcola High School

100.0%

Did teachers generally hold high standards and demand quality work

94.3%

Were you properly prepared with thinking skills such as creativity, decision making and problem solving

91.4%

Were academic standards high enough

80.0%

Was your participation in extra-curricular activities an important part of school experience

82.9%

 The remainder of the survey asked former graduates to rate how well they felt they were prepared in various subjects.  They were asked to rate each area with “Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Needs Improvement.”

Question

Excellent

Good

Average

Preparation in Math

40.0%

28.6%

22.9%

Preparation in English

42.9%

31.4%

14.3%

Preparation in Science

37.1%

25.8%

28.9%

Preparation in History

54.3%

22.9%

12.3%

Preparation in Technology

31.4%

34.3%

17.1%

Preparation for the Workforce

31.4%

28.8%

25.7%

Preparation for continue your education

34.3%

25.7%

34.3%

 Use and Limitations

The data provides insight into some overall feelings that graduates have about both the school culture and academic program at school.  It is important to look at these results from year to year to measure trends and overall opinions from students.

On the other hand, the data is limited in a few ways.  First, there are no comparison numbers.  When you read that 100% of your seniors feel they received a quality education, that is a great but how does it compare to how students feel in other places?  Second, the information you receive cannot be broken down by different subgroups.  For example, it would be great to know how students in college feel about preparation in English as compared to students that are in the workforce.  Finally, the questions are open pretty broad.  For example, it would be more helpful to know if students felt prepared in various areas of English such as writing or analyzing a piece of informational text rather than just preparation in English.  With such broad questions, it makes it tough to break down the data to use to make specific program improvements.  That is why the survey results are used by the district leadership team as just one of many pieces of data.