WEEKLY REPORT #3
What do students think about Springton Lake Middle School?
SLMS STUDENTS were asked to respond to the statement "I enjoy school most of the time" using a 5-point scale:
1 = Strongly Disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree
4 = Agree
5 = Strongly Agree
Youth Truth reports the response as an average of all response scores from SLMS Students, and also compares the averaged response to how students in similar schools responded.
The averaged response for this statement was 2.98 That is, leaning slightly toward “Disagree”, but closest to “Neither Agree nor Disagree”.
However, other schools’ students were much more positive than the SLMS’. This is noted as a “percentile” – SLMS students’ response is ranked as the 8th percentile.
This means, if the schools’ responses were sorted in increasing value and ranked from 0 to 100, 2.98 would be 8th percentile. That is, 7% of the schools scored lower and 92% of the schools were given a higher score by their students. This is a disparity which will probably shock every parent, teacher, and administration member, and an illustration of where a percentile comparison gives a needed perspective. Who would have expected the student body to be so much unhappier than other suburban middle school students?
TRENDING: It also matters (a lot!) if the students are recording its sentiments more negatively than it did in last year’s survey. Springton Lake students’ response to “enjoy school” decreased both as an average response (it was 3.32) and compared to other surveyed middle school students (about ~63rd percentile).
As a visual and short-hand way of presenting, Youth Truth uses charts, both for individual questions and also for the combined score of all questions for a topic, ex., for SCHOOL SAFETY. This is a Percentile chart for the “enjoy school” statement. At a glance one can see both this year’s score (2.98) and percentile (8th) became worse since the 2021-22 survey, and that all 3 grades feel this way. One should wonder “Why? And what can be done to fix this?
Other Concerning Student Responses
Now, let’s quickly look at other concerning responses from SLMS students in this year’s survey:
Note: All of the surveyed statements are worded so that a response with a high value (4 or 5) means the situation is “good”.
Ex., To Agree with “My school is safe” would mean “good” and give the response a high score (4). To Disagree with “My school is dangerous” would also mean “good” but be scored low (2), so negative wording is never used.
“What I learn in class helps me outside of school”
(3.05, 32nd percentile) – last year 3.18 ~45th percentile
“I take pride in my school work”
(3.71, 58th percentile) – last year 3.83, 75th percentile
“In order to get a good grade, I have to work hard in my classes”
(3.96, 10th percentile) – last year 4.19, 45th percentile
“My teachers give me assignments that really help me learn”
(3.33, 34th percentile) – last year 3.52, ~63rd percentile
“The work that I do for my classes makes me really think”
(3.41, 22nd percentile) – last year 3.53, 42th percentile
“My teachers explain things in a way that I understand”
(3.51, 52nd percentile) - last year 3.66, 70th percentile
“Discipline in this school is fair”
(3.00, 32nd percentile) - last year 3.27, ~63rd percentile
“I think my classmates want to do well in school”
(3.14, 28th percentile) - last year 3.47, ~64th percentile
“Adults from my school treat students with respect”
(3.62, 42nd percentile) - last year 3.85, 65th percentile
“Students from my school treat adults with respect”
(2.71, 29nd percentile) - last year 3.14, ~63rd percentile
And a few more – Note that every response is more negative than the 2021-22 survey, and SLMS falls from the top tier of middle schools’ responses to the bottom (“lower than a typical” middle school). Who would have expected the huge decrease in respect for adults?
“How many of your teachers try to be fair?”
(3.75, 56th percentile) -- last year 3.90, ~73rd percentile
“How many of your teachers believe that you can get a good grade if you try?”
(4.24, 55th percentile) -- last year 4.35, ~73rd percentile
“How many of your teachers connect what you’re learning in class with your life outside of school?”
(2.94, 52nd percentile) -- last year 3.08, ~69th percentile
“How many of your teachers try to understand what your life is like outside of school?”
(2.82, 51st percentile) -- last year 2.98, ~66th percentile
“How many of your teachers are willing to give extra help on school work if you need it?
(3.00, 69th percentile) -- last year 3.27, ~63rd percentile
“How many of your teachers are not just satisfied with if you pass, they care if you’re really learning?”
(3.51, 43rd percentile) -- last year 3.60, ~58th percentile
And, with each other – It is troubling to see that the students are being less friendly to each other.
BELONGING & PEER COLLABORATION:
“I feel like a part of my school’s community”
(3.37, 56th percentile) -- last year 3.58, ~82nd percentile
“I can usually be myself around other students”
(3.46, 31st percentile) -- last year 3.66, ~71st percentile
“Most students are friendly to me”
(3.55, 42nd percentile) -- last year 3.78, ~81st percentile
Springton Lake Middle School students’ responses for the Key Measures questions are ALL MORE NEGATIVE this year than their responses given during the 2021-2022 survey.
Their responses, in every case, drive SLMS further below from baseline of the conditions in other Suburban middle schools.
Signal concerns – SLMS’ students
…do not enjoy school most of the time.
…do not have to work hard to get a good grade (in the 10th percentile of peer schools)
…do not treat adults with respect
…believe that SLMS teachers do not try to try to understand their life outside of school
…cannot be themselves around other students
It is useful and important to take the pulse of students’ sentiments. Problems can only be addressed once they are recognized as existing.
Something very wrong went on in Springton Lake Middle School during the 2022-2023 school year.
The RTMSD school administration should discuss this with the school board and act to correct the course that SLMS is heading.
About the Survey
Students in each of the schools of Rose Tree Media School District were administered online surveys designed by www.YouthTruthSurvey.org to multiple groups in the District: Students (Elementary, Middle, and High School), faculty/staff, and caregivers (parents).
The surveys captured the opinions of these different groups about how the District was doing.
This week, we looked at a couple questions from the STUDENT survey for SPRINGTON LAKE MIDDLE SCHOOL.
The purpose of these surveys is to get a snapshot of opinion from a broad audience; contrast the RTMSD survey results with those from other SUBURBAN school districts; and use the findings to make improvements to RTMSD.
Read RTMSD’s stated purpose for at Youth Truth Survey 2022-2023.
The survey is lengthy: 129 questions asked of SLMS students. The “Youth Truth” (YT) report, analyzes the responses is even longer (184 pages). The report is complex. Weekly Report #3 will look at the 20 questions which constitute the scoring of its 5 Key Measures, all of which are troubling.
You may download for yourself the Springton Lake Middle School Student Survey Results report from the RTMSD website.
For an explanation of the YT survey analyses, click here.
Final Overall Observations
The SLMS 2022-2023 survey results for Youth Truth’s 5 Key Measures are ALL trending worse.
Compared to other Suburban schools, their responses placed SLMS “lower than typical” for the Key Measures which are controlled by the school: Engagement, Academic Challenge, Culture.
SLMS students’ responses were significantly more positive for the Belonging & Peer Collaboration theme, which include statements which deal with whether our students get along with each other.
This school year has, clearly, been a difficult one in the Springton Lake Middle School.