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DoDEA to Conduct Online Customer-Satisfaction Survey

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2002 – The DoD Education Activity will conduct a customer-satisfaction survey starting Nov. 1 that will be also be available on the Internet for the first time.

DoDEA Director Joseph Tafoya said the survey will be conducted through Dec. 13, he noted. Primarily targeted at parents, teachers and education support staff, the survey will be used to improve the school system's operations, he said.

This year, he pointed out, the survey can be accessed and completed via a link on the DoDEA Web site home page at www.odedodea.edu. The survey also will be available as a traditional paper form.

Survey respondents are asked to provide basic demographic information and answer a main body of questions tied to education-specific topics, Tafoya noted.

"We ask them for information about some curriculum issues that we're working with, about facilities at their school, access to technology, how well we communicate in terms of news letters, how we could do things better," he said. They're also asked for their opinions about the school system's strengths, he added.

"One of the reasons we're using this particular survey," Tafoya explained, "is that it gives us the chance to take our data and match it to what other school districts and states have done in terms of compilation of their data."

The survey covers services and activities for grades pre- kindergarten to 12.

Tafoya is confident the survey data should show the greatly increased the availability of computers in DoDEA classrooms during the past several years. However, he emphasized, that technology must be efficiently used.

"I think the number of computers per student (in DoDEA schools) is way above the national average," Tafoya explained. "What we're trying to do in the area of technology now is not so much acquire equipment, but to learn how to use it more effectively in the classroom.

"Although (computer) labs are great to have," he continued, "we're also interested in seeing the chemistry and social studies teachers having computers in their classrooms."

Tafoya also noted that DoDEA is using funding received from DoD last year to make across-the-board improvements at its 56 stateside and overseas high schools. One related initiative, he noted, involves adding teachers and support personnel at some of the system's smaller high schools.

"I don't believe a child's educational opportunity ought to be determined by where the (military) parent is stationed," Tafoya explained. "We put money into additional positions to make programs more effective -- not only to inject rigor, but also to expand course offerings."

Both the printed and online surveys should only take about 20 minutes to complete, he said. Parents can obtain the paper version from DoDEA schools.

Tafoya said parents are asked to fill out surveys for each of their children since they may attend the same school, but in different grades.

DoDEA officials hope the Web survey forms will help them compile data more quickly than in the past, Tafoya said. If the Web version is used heavily, survey results could be released as early as January 2003, he estimated.

It's important for parents and teachers to fill out and return the surveys no matter how they access it, he emphasized.

"Based on this survey, we'll be making decisions that will impact the instructional and the operational programs" across the DoDEA school system, Tafoya concluded.

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