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Defense Schools Earn A’s, B’s on Early Survey Results

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2009 – Defense Department schools have earned top grades from parents and students, based on preliminary results of the Department of Defense Education Activity’s annual customer-satisfaction survey.

Overall, DoDEA schools received an A or B grade from both sponsors and students, officials said. The survey showed 74 percent of participating sponsors were satisfied with the education their children were receiving through DoDEA schools. Overall student satisfaction was at 72 percent.

“I’m pleased that parents are, for the most part, pleased with the education their children are getting,” DoDEA Director Shirley A. Miles said. “We certainly appreciate their input.”

Still, Miles said the results are just starting to become known of the survey that took months to complete.

“Because we just closed it, we don’t have all the details of it yet,” she said. “We’ll be doing that within the next few weeks, question by question, section by section.

“I’m anxiously looking forward to looking at the results and comparing them to what they were from two years ago,” she added.

About 18,000, or 25 percent, of all parents, guardians or sponsors participated in the survey, which is conducted every two years. That is up slightly from the last survey, in which 23 percent of parents and guardians participated. Student participation stayed level at 75 percent of students in the 4th through 12th grades.

Miles said she’d like parents to know that DoDEA is focused on improving, and that officials are aware the organization sometimes lacks accountability. “That needs to be shored up, and we will do that,” she said.

Changes resulting from suggestions made by task forces convened to address issues the last survey raised are beginning to be implemented. Task forces soon will convene to address issues discovered through the just-concluded survey, Miles said.

Once a task forces is formed, Miles explained, it takes about a year for its recommendations to take shape. “If there are any areas that are, of course, glaring, we address them right away,” she added. “We don’t wait for a task force to do that.”

DoDEA officials are prepared to look at a range of issues, just as they did with the last survey, Miles said. This survey asked sponsors and students about their overall satisfaction with education, educational assessments, technology, student support and communications.

Though the survey results available so far are preliminary, Miles said, two areas will get attention from task force groups.

“I can tell you two areas we’re going to focus in on next year already: block scheduling … and seminar classes [at the high school level],” she said.

Block schedules consist of alternating class schedules of 90-minute classes. Seminar classes also are 90-minute sessions during the school week.

“It’s a chunk of time, and I would like to know how efficiently that time is used,” Miles said.

It will be a several weeks before all of the data from DoDEA’s three areas -- Europe, the Pacific and stateside schools -- will be available, Miles said. When that’s finished, task forces will begin analyzing the data in earnest.

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Biographies:
Shirley A. Miles

Related Sites:
Department of Defense Education Activity

Related Articles:
Education Activity Asks Parents, Students for Feedback



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