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Survey and data gathering tools

Survey and data gathering tools

This section of the website provides practical examples of survey and data gathering instruments that teachers may use to evaluate the effectiveness of values education programmes and the approaches schools adopt. Those marked NEW are the most recently added resources.

ACSSO Values Audit - How is My School Doing?
The Australian Council of State School Organisations has developed a values audit tool to ‘facilitate a process of honest self-examination, with a view to prompting a practical development of policies and procedures at a school level.’

Case Writing: using evidence-based research in values education
Teacher case writing is a technique designed to enable teachers to describe their practice, discuss it with colleagues and collaboratively attempt to improve it. Some of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project clusters used Case Writing as a means of identifying improvements in the teaching and learning of values. They also experimented with using it as a form of ‘evidence-based’ research into quality teaching of values. Professor Ron Toomey explains the methodology of Case Writing (PDF) with examples to illustrate how Case Writing can be used to yield rich results in values education.

A revised version of ‘Case Writing as Evidence of Good Practice (PDF) in the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project - Stage 2’  by Professor Ron Toomey is available. The original version was written as part of the Research Resource Kit for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 2 (PDF).

Following are two examples of teacher case writing:

  • 'Let’s talk about things that matter' Year 5/6 teacher Margarita Fair has used the case writing methodology to write an inspiring account () of how classroom strategies to improve listening and speaking skills (aligned to the national values) provided unexpected rewards for both her and her class.
  • Finding your imagination’ is a sample of teacher case writing from Stage 2 of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project. 


Character Education

Character education quality standards self-assessment tool
CEP (Character Education Partnership) is an American organisation ‘dedicated to developing young people of good character who become responsible and caring citizens’. On their website is a PDF document, Character Education Quality Standards, which is a self-assessment tool that ‘outlines key components of effective character education and allows schools and districts to evaluate their efforts in relation to these criteria. This instrument provides a means for educators, administrators, and community members to reflect on current practices, identify short and long-term objectives, and develop or improve a strategic plan’. School communities might find it useful as a basis for tailoring a self-assessment tool using the ‘Guiding principles’ and ‘Key elements and approaches that inform good practice’ from the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools.

Character Education assessment tools
The Heart of the Matter: Character and Citizenship Education in Alberta Schools (Alberta Education, 2005)
‘The process of developing character and citizenship projects begins with assessment in mind. Detailing what will be assessed defines the purpose of initiatives.’ The following chapters and tools from The Heart of the Matter may be useful in moving beyond anecdotal evidence in assessing the progress of projects and auditing school climate: Chapter 4: Assessing Character and Citizenship Education Initiatives; Chapter 5: Creating a Safe and Caring School Culture; Appendix B: Assessment Tools; Appendix D: Using Action Research to Initiate School Change; Appendix F: Sample Evaluation Tools and Strategies.

Configurative Mapping Tool
Action research is a practical strategy intended to help teachers and schools improve their practice.  Configurative mapping is an approach to program evaluation. It is designed to detect advancements in improving values education programmes that schools are achieving over relatively short periods of time.

This Configurative Mapping Tool was designed by the University Associates Network (UAN) for use by clusters in the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 1. It has been constructed to accommodate differences in approaches to values education and can be used by any school in planning for effective values education.

NEW Most Significant Change technique
The Most Significant Change (MSC) technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. It is useful in evaluating and monitoring participatory projects that have diverse outcomes and multiple stakeholders. The process involves the collection of significant change stories from the field level and the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories, those providing evidence of impact, by panels of designated stakeholders or staff. Once changes have been captured various people sit down together, read the stories aloud and have in-depth discussions about the value of these reported changes. Learning occurs through discussion and areas for improvement can usually be identified and enacted. 

The MSC technique was used in the Values in Action Schools Project (VASP) and video clips from the VASP Evaluation Summit illustrate part of this process.

Research Resource Kit for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project
A full version of the Research Resource Kit for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 1 which was distributed to all clusters at the Initial Briefing Session on June 3rd 2005. This kit includes the Configurative Mapping Tool and background information for the cluster schools.

A new version of the above values education toolkit has been written for Stage 2 and may be downloaded as a Word version Research Resource Kit for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 2 (774kb)  or a PDF version Research Resource Kit for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project – Stage 2 (635kb). 

Survey tools from Values Education Good Practice Project Schools

Manningham Catholic Primary Schools cluster
The Manningham Catholic Primary Schools cluster in Victoria is part of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project. Their project is student-focused and concentrates on Student Action Teams where students will take an active role implementing the nine values through their schools curriculum, organisation, ethos and environment whilst forming partnerships with their local, State and national community. The cluster has begun to survey students' responses to the nine values in the National Framework and is yielding interesting and rich results. There are three survey forms: care and compassion; friendship and acceptance; and a fair go

Merrylands Cluster Surveys – Stage 1
Merrylands Cluster in New South Wales, one of the clusters in the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project - Stage 1, conducted three surveys to obtain information about values in the school community: one for students; one for teachers; and one for parents.

Merrylands/Guildford Cluster Surveys – Stage 2
For the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project - Stage 2, the Merrylands/Guildford cluster delivered a values survey to staff and students across all seven schools. They were asked to scale statements in relation to the question, ‘In my classroom/school, how evident is each of the following?’ They were given another almost identical survey which asked, ‘In my classroom/school how important is each of the following?’ The cluster then conducted workshops comparing both surveys. Expert groups then worked on the following areas: analysis of teacher results; analysis of student results; primary school versus high school student results; and teacher versus student comparison. Feedback was given to the whole cluster via a PMI chart (plus, minus, interesting comments).

The survey was designed by Belinda Giudice, the cluster coordinator. They have found it useful, not only for values education but for whole-school climate analysis and also for transition (Years 6–7).

For further examples of surveys visit Case Studies: Good Practice Schools. 

Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School
Human Rights in Education: The Evidence – Hampshire case study - one of the most comprehensive approaches to human rights-based education (based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) has been activated by Hampshire County Council in the United Kingdom. Piloted and then rolled out in all primary schools as ‘Rights, Respect, Responsibilities’, it is now being introduced county-wide for all schools. There are also schools involved in Human Rights in Education that share a commitment to the development of human rights-based education in New Zealand. There is a kit for school leaders containing downloadable documents covering the rationale, methods and basic reference materials for human rights-based education in schools. Part of the kit is a survey, ‘Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School’, a whole school activity which asks participants to examine the human rights climate at their school and make connections between the need for a safe school environment and international standards of human rights.