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RIDE Releases SurveyWorks 2021 Results

Respect and a Sense of Belonging are High Points and Tell the Story of a Resilient Education Community in Rhode Island


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has released the results of its 2021 administration of SurveyWorks, its statewide school climate and culture survey. The survey provides valuable insights into what is working and what can be improved in Rhode Island education.

“The data provided by SurveyWorks represents the voices of our school communities and is central to enhancing Rhode Island students’ educational experiences and improving outcomes in our schools,” said Commissioner Infante-Green. “Despite the challenges sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, these results show us that our education community is resilient and has fostered a culture of acceptance and support. The snapshot SurveyWorks provides is critical as it will help us assess our education system’s strengths and challenges to better serve needs of students across Rhode Island.”

This year’s results are even more useful because they come in the wake of the statewide shift to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, 73,078 students, 28,027 parents and family members, and 10,972 teachers participated.

To support a survey administration and maximize participation during the pandemic, RIDE made three key changes to support the program this year:

  • Introduced New Content: The RIDE project team introduced a few new items in the survey for inclusion, namely a topic for students, staff, and families titled: Cultural Awareness and Action.
  • Improved Family Survey Accessibility: Previously, all families accessed surveys by entering a custom code. This year, RIDE placed all family surveys behind one link, which ensured ease of access, portability of survey links, and streamlined communication.
  • Incorporated COVID-19 Context: Each survey included the question: “How have you participated/attended in school this year?” to help assess the impact of learning online versus in-school across various topics.

The results of this year’s SurveyWorks reveal a consistent theme of respect and sense of belonging amongst all stakeholder groups, while also detailing areas where the education community can focus in years to come including race, ethnicity and cultural awareness. Key findings include:

  • Overall, both students and parents reported more favorable experiences with in-person learning than with online learning.
  • Students in grades 3-12 reported an increased sense of belonging and respect, including a 16% increase in positive responses for students in grades 6-12 when asked how much respect students show one another while in school.
  • Students in grades 3-12 also reported an increase in engagement while in school. The survey revealed a 14% increase for students in grades 6-12 when asked how often teachers seem to be excited while teaching.
  • More than half of teachers reported favorable perceptions about their students Social Emotional Learning. This was highlighted by a 25% positive jump regarding the level of respect students show one another.
  • When thinking about how well a school supports students and staff in learning about, discussing, and confronting issues of race, ethnicity, and culture, nearly 50% of teachers responded favorably to questions about race, ethnicity and culture.
  • 83% of parents feel that students and teachers are respected and culturally aware at school.

“This year’s responses from students, parents, and educators are promising as ensuring safety and a sense of belonging in our schools is even more critical for student success in these challenging and uncertain times,” added Commissioner Infante-Green. “I’m thankful to all Rhode Islanders inside and out of the classroom who stepped up over the last year and a half to create a welcoming and supportive learning environment for students. Much work remains ahead to get students up to speed but with continued collaboration and support we will continue to make progress.”

To learn more or to view your school's or district's full results, visit surveyworks.ride.ri.gov. Join the conversation and encourage your school community to participate using the hashtag, #SurveyWorks.