The Iowa Department of Education has included Conditions for Learning as part of the plan under the new federal education law, Every Student Succeeds Act. All Iowa public school districts will use Conditions for Learning Surveys (Surveys) to improve safety, student engagement and the overall learning environment so that all Iowa students have optimum conditions for learning. Studies have shown this work matters. Improving skills such as solving problems, working out conflict, and working with other people in a group has led to double-digit increases on achievement test scores, improved classroom behavior and improved attitudes. Therefore, this work to improve safety, student engagement and the overall learning environment will have a lasting impact on the future.
All public schools in Iowa will use statewide online Surveys to assess Conditions for Learning in grades 3 through 12. Two versions of the Survey will be administered to students; one for students in grades 3-5 which has been adapted to be age appropriate for the lower grades, and one for students in grades 6-12.
The Surveys are (1) confidential, anonymous, and voluntary, (2) completed annually in the spring, and (3) focus on issues ranging from student safety, to positive student relationships, to school rules and how they are enforced. The information from the Surveys does not provide student-level results [all data are anonymous and aggregated],but does provide aggregated information that may be used by a school building to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and serves as a foundation on which to build an action plan for improving the learning environment for all students. The information will also help to determine the level of support needed by schools, and the resources they may need to provide an optimal learning environment for all learners.
Information will be provided to schools each fall as part of the ESSA Accountability Index. This Index is a broad indicator of a school’s needs, comprised of several measures such as student participation, academic achievement, student growth in academic areas, graduation rate, progress in achieving English language proficiency, postsecondary readiness - and Conditions for Learning for students in grades 3-5 and 6-12.
Beginning in 2020, two additional and voluntary Surveys will be available for school staff and parents. These Surveys are optional for schools and are not included in the ESSA Accountability Index. Results from these confidential, anonymous and voluntary surveys provide schools with additional information regarding the culture and climate of the school.