School Climate Surveys (SCS)

Just The Facts

Who: Every school team assessing the outcomes of its PBIS implementation on students, families, and staff.

When: At least once a year. If taken twice a year, the first administration should happen in the first 45 days of school; the last should happen in the last 45 days of school.

Why: To understand the overall impact PBIS implementation has had on the way a school feels to its students, families, and staff.

How: Open a new window in PBIS Assessment for each climate survey relevant to your school stakeholders. Send the anonymous link associated with each survey its corresponding stakeholder group.  

When you talk about your PBIS implementation, there are two questions to regularly ask:

  • Are we doing what we said we would do?
  • How does our implementation affect the people in our school?

Taking the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) informs the first question; taking the School Climate Surveys (SCS) informs the second.

What Does the SCS Do?

The SCS is a suite of five surveys to measure student, staff, and family perceptions of school climate. Each survey is a brief, valid, and reliable way to ask stakeholders how your school feels to them.

The SCS is also an anonymous, multiple-response survey. That means, once you open the survey windows, you'll get a series of links to send around to the affiliated groups. It should only take them around 10-20 minutes to complete. As responses come in, PBIS Assessment summarizes them into reports addressing each group, providing you with an overall picture of your implementation’s impact on the people learning, teaching, and participating in your school every day.

Which Surveys Should I Use?

There are five surveys available to take within the SCS suite. Open a survey window in PBIS Assessment for as many of them as are appropriate for your school:

  • Elementary: For students between grades 3-5. (If your school includes grade 6, have them complete the elementary survey, too.)
  • Secondary (brief) and Secondary (extended): For students between grades 6-12.
  • School Personnel: For teachers, administrators, and anyone else working in your school.
  • Family: For parents, caregivers, and guardians of students enrolled at your school.

When Should I Take the SCS?

Schools take the SCS once or twice during the school year. If you take it once, you can easily watch how perceptions change from year-to-year. Taking the SCS twice a year helps you notice the major and minor changes in perceptions from the beginning of the year to the end.

What Happens After I Submit the SCS?

PBIS Assessment takes every climate survey submitted within a given window and summarizes them into the reports your team needs to improve school climate in your building. The reports available for the School Climate Survey vary depending on the survey you take.

  • The Total Score Report gives you an average score your participants gave as they took the survey. The closer a score is to five, the more positive participants feel about your school’s climate.
  • A Subscale Report is available for the Family and School Personnel surveys. Subscales relate to specific areas of your school’s climate that participants feel are working well or could be improved.
  • Drill down further into the data by reviewing the Items Report and identify some of the individual elements to add to your action plan.
  • Take another look at the data based on the demographics of the people who took the survey. See how your school feels to students, families, and school personnel depending on their race/ethnicity, gender, grade, or (for middle/high schools only) sexual orientation. To make sure responses remain anonymous, if a demographic subgroup has fewer than five respondents associated with it, the results won't display. However, their responses are always included in the Total Score, Subscale, and Items reports.

The School Climate Survey helps teams gain insight into how school personnel, students, and their families feel when they walk into your building. Use their responses as a starting point to create the kind of place where everyone wants to be.

For more details on taking the SCS, check out these resources.


Ready to get started?

To get started, you need to use our free app PBIS Assessment.