Mass STEM Hub Project Lead The Way Survey FAQ

 

Mass STEM Hub is excited to partner with Project Lead The Way and Worcester Polytechnic Institute to expand high-quality STEM programming in Massachusetts. As part of our statewide PLTW initiative we are conducting student and teacher surveys.

 

What is the purpose of the surveys?

The student and teacher surveys will increase our understanding about how PLTW creates engaging learning experiences that help students develop the skills required for success in college and careers. Further, the study will help Mass STEM Hub support PLTW teachers and students across the state by tailoring the following types of opportunities to their needs:

  • Student events and competitions that complement the PLTW curriculum;
  • Recruitment of industry partners to visit classrooms and host students & teachers; and
  • Tours of showcase PLTW schools across the Commonwealth that can provide models from which teachers and schools leaders may learn.


What are the benefits to participating?

The study has numerous benefits and requires only a minimal commitment from schools. Participation entails having PLTW teachers and students complete surveys annually over the course of the study. The survey is designed to provide schools with useful information, such as their students’ level of interest in STEM and the skills that PLTW helps them develop.

As a benefit to participating, schools will receive a school-specific dashboard that summarizes the survey results and indicates how their PLTW programming is benchmarked to other schools in Massachusetts. Participating schools will also have the opportunity to review the research conclusions and key findings about implementation best practices at regular intervals. The survey will also help Mass STEM Hub tailor programming (e.g., teacher training, industry connections, student competitions and events) to schools’ needs.


When will student surveys be completed?

Students will complete the survey at the end of their PLTW module/unit/course. Given that, the Launch survey for students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 will be open all year and teachers can administer it when they wrap up the last module that students complete during the year.  At the middle school level, surveys will be administered during 4-week windows throughout the year to accommodate different middle school schedules (e.g., trimester, quarters, semester, and year-long classes). The specific 4-week window will differ depending on course end dates. At the high school level, surveys will be completed at the end of the year during May and June (depending on schools’ course end dates).


When should teachers complete their surveys?

Teacher surveys can be completed at the end of the year, in May and June.  The teacher survey is meant to be reflective of the school year.


How can my school participate in this survey?

Grant funded schools are required to participate in the survey. Schools that offer PLTW but are not grant-funded who wish to take part in this wonderful opportunity should make sure that their students are rostered and sign the survey participation form . If you would like to participate but are not sure if your school has already signed on, please email PLTW’s Mary Laturnau at mlaturnau@pltw.org.


How will I know when to administer the survey?

Teachers will receive an email from Abt Associates, the organization administering the survey, with instructions and links to the survey.


How can my school access the online survey?

Teachers will receive an email from Abt Associates, the organization administering the survey, with instructions and links to the survey.


What sort of questions are asked on the student survey?

At the highest level, the student survey seeks to answer three questions:

  1. What are students’ perceptions of PLTW?
  2. How has participation in PLTW impacted students’ overall engagement in school and interest in STEM?
  3. What skills do students think are the most important for them to be successful? Does PLTW help students develop these skills?


What types of questions are asked on the teacher survey?

At the highest level, the teacher survey seeks to answer three questions:

  1. How satisfied are teachers with PLTW?
  2. What does PLTW programming look like at the school level (e.g., course offering, scheduling)?
  3. What other programming or supports should we offer in Massachusetts to make PLTW even more effective for students and teachers?


Will I need to roster my students in order to participate in the survey?

Rostering is a critical part of the process. Using this roster data, Abt will send middle and high school PLTW teachers unique links for each student who is enrolled in the course. Elementary teachers will receive one common link that they can use with their students.


Will I be able to review the data from the survey to help inform my planning?

Teachers and leaders from participating schools will receive online data dashboards with a summary of their survey results.  Educators will be able to see responses from their class and, where possible,  will be able to compare class responses to students across the state.


Should ALL my students take the survey?

All students who participate in PLTW during the school year should complete the survey. The more of your who students participate, the better and more informative your data will be. This will help you get an accurate snapshot of how things are progressing and will help inform your teaching practice.


What if I don’t have a survey link for one of my students?

Abt Associates is overseeing the survey administration process. In preparation for the survey administration, Abt will e-mail teachers links for all of the students who have been rostered into PLTW courses. Abt will also send additional links for students who weren’t initially rostered. If you have any problem with the survey or need additional links for students, please contact the Abt survey director at Brian_Freeman@abtassoc.com or 617-520-2356.


How long are the surveys?

The elementary student survey is designed to take about 10-15 minutes. The middle and high school student surveys are designed to take approximately 15-20 minutes. The teacher survey is designed to take roughly 20 minutes. Students with limited English proficiency or special needs may need slightly more time to complete the survey.


What is the format for the surveys? Are there special materials that are required?

The surveys are completed online on a computer or tablet.

 

Do the surveys require specific technology?

The surveys are designed to be accessible by any device that can get online (laptop, desktop, Chromebook, iPad, etc.). While the surveys do not require any specific technology, it is important for teachers to confirm that the links that Abt sends are not blocked by their schools’ IT infrastructure. The e-mail that teachers receive from Abt will include instructions about how to test this.

 

Is student consent required?

The survey is voluntary, but we hope that all of your students will participate. The first page of the student survey explains that the survey is voluntary. Abt will be sending participating teachers a sample notification letter that they can send home with students.

 

Is the survey available in Spanish?

The survey is available in Spanish.


How do you recommend that schools administer surveys to ensure 100% completion?

To ensure 100% student participation in the least amount of time, we recommend completing the survey during one of the students’ final PLTW classes.


How will the data be used?

The data from the surveys will be used in three ways:

  1. For school and teachers to understand students’ perspectives on the class. Participating schools will have access to data dashboards that will show students’ impressions on the impact the class had on their interest in STEM and their STEM knowledge and skills.
  2. To inform Mass STEM Hub programming for schools. By understanding what PLTW implementation at the school level looks like, Mass STEM Hub can better tailor student and teacher opportunities like teacher networking and professional learning opportunities as well as student competitions and events and connections to industry.
  3. As an input into PLTW’s formal evaluation of PLTW programming in Massachusetts. Project Lead The Way is conducting an important evaluation of the implementation and impact of the PLTW program throughout Massachusetts. This evaluation will increase understanding of how PLTW creates engaging learning experiences that help students develop the skills required for success in college and careers.


What is Abt Associates?

Abt Associates is a research firm that will be working with Mass STEM Hub to oversee the Massachusetts PLTW survey administration.