The education system must prepare individuals for success in society and on the labour market and grant them the opportunity to update their skills in the face of changes.
An important aspect of providing study opportunities is the quality of the studies (the level of relevant knowledge and skills), the efficiency of the study arrangements and the satisfaction of all parties with the study process and opportunities. While Estonian schools have shown very good academic performance, the satisfaction rate remains low.
The Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy aims to introduce changes to several important fields of education, with a focus on the different parties involved. Implementing the strategy should lead to growth in the participation rate, improve the skills of students and help to better match them to the needs of the labour market. One of the key indicators in assessing the changes is the ‘satisfaction of different parties with lifelong learning’.
In 2016 the Ministry of Education and Research ordered the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) of the University of Tartu to prepare satisfaction surveys based on a common concept addressing all target groups involved in education, ranging from basic education to adult training. The concept builds on an analysis of scientific literature and previously conducted satisfaction surveys. The surveys were piloted in autumn 2016 and fully implemented in 2018.
The surveys are being conducted by the Innove Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research.
What satisfaction and school satisfaction mean?
- motivation (intrinsic motivation) or satisfaction;
- school environment or satisfaction and dissatisfaction;
- external or dissatisfaction components.
Why is it important to focus on satisfaction?
In one way or another most educational institutions ask their students to provide feedback, whereas less attention is paid to the satisfaction of other parties. Studying satisfaction through national surveys is starting to replace the surveys that to date were conducted separately.
Even though surveys carried out in one school or by one school manager allow their own specific characteristics to be taken into account, national satisfaction surveys provide comparable results based on scientific and analytical grounds. Moreover, joint surveys prove to save both time and money.
The purpose of the joint satisfaction survey is to:
1. explore feedback on satisfaction through control surveys based on scientific studies and covering various important components;
2. scale back the workload of individual educational institutions and school managers in collecting data and save money by using a central survey environment and system;
3. make feedback reporting automatic and ensure the availability of analytical feedback for all parties involved (incl. school managers), while offering schools analytical support in interpreting survey results;
4. collect comparable information and provide schools with the chance to learn from one another;
5. share feedback on satisfaction with different parties, incl. students, parents and school managers;
6. establish certainty that individual results will remain confidential by creating a central data collection system;
7. grant the survey conductors the opportunity to carry out research on the basis of the data collected and use this to contribute to the development of and satisfaction with Estonian education.
How the satisfaction survey is conducted?
The Innove Foundation notifies pre-, general and vocational education institutions at least two weeks prior to carrying out the survey.
On the opening date, survey links are sent to the participating institutions. The institutions forward the information to the target groups taking part in the survey.
The Innove Foundation gathers all of the necessary information (web links plus the background to and guidelines for filling in the survey) in newsletters that can be quickly and easily forwarded by the institutions. The target groups taking part in the survey receive the information via e-mail or, if necessary, this can also be disseminated using posters or printed newsletters.
The satisfaction surveys for all target groups are conducted electronically.
The survey is delivered to participants via an online survey service called Lime Survey, which requires an uninterrupted Internet connection when providing responses.
Completing the survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
Filling in the survey
Student satisfaction surveys are carried out in schools.
Teachers and parents can fill in their survey electronically at a place and time suitable to them. A convenient option would be to use a PC or laptop with a mouse, but it can also be done via a web browser on an iPad (with a larger screen).
Anonymity and confidentiality of the survey
The survey is anonymous and confidential, which means that the answers cannot be linked to respondents. No feedback is provided on answers given by a specific teacher or parent.
Feedback (based on the analysis results) is provided to all target groups. It is institution-specific and presented in comparison with the state average. Even though no feedback is provided on answers given by a specific participant, all target groups receive the general results. Feedback on their schools and kindergartens is also shared with school managers, i.e. local authorities.
In addition, a general state report is prepared on the basis of the results in each target group.
Source data on your own school or kindergarten is available upon request from Foundation Innove, unless the amount of data is too small in some groups and could compromise confidentiality.
In the future, survey results will also be compared over time. A separate analysis will be carried out on the educational satisfaction of various parties at the state level by monitoring how this changes over time.
Reports including issues of satisfaction with education
2. Study on Estonia's alumni of tertiary schools (In Estonian: Eesti kõrgkoolide 2015. aasta vilistlaste uuring)
3. Study on Estonia's alumni of vocational education training schools 2015-2016 (In Estonian: Eesti kutseõppe 2015.-2016. aasta vilistlaste uuring)
4. Examples of feedback; basic school (in Estonian: põhikoolis) and in high school (in Estonian: gümnaasiumis)
5. Teachers' and students' satisfaction in Estonia-wide survey. Short overview of the results of 2017 (in Estonian).
Kindergarten satisfaction survey
Purpose of the survey
The purpose of conducting a satisfaction survey in kindergartens is to expand feedback on the quality of education and create conditions for systematic monitoring of the well-being and performance of kindergarten children and teachers.
Time of the survey
Surveys will be conducted in April or May every three years. The first inclusive survey is scheduled for 2018.
Data collected from the survey
The data collected from surveys are used to provide feedback to kindergartens on the quality of the working and study environment and parent satisfaction with the kindergarten.
- kindergarten teachers and their assistants;
Filling in the survey
Surveys can be filled in electronically at a place and time suitable to you
by opening the survey link in your computer. The web links are sent to the target group by the kindergarten.
If one parent has two children attending the same kindergarten, they should complete the survey separately for both. If the experiences are the same for both children, filling in the survey once will suffice.
Answers may be provided in Estonian, English or Russian. We recommend using the language best known to the respondent.
Feedback on the survey
On the basis of the analysis results, feedback is provided to all kindergartens and their managers who participated in the survey. It is school-specific and presented in comparison with the state average. No feedback is provided on answers given by a specific teacher or parent. Feedback is provided to the management, teachers, parents and managers alike.
Feedback on piloting the surveys will be sent to kindergartens in March 2018.
General education school satisfaction survey
Purpose of the survey
The purpose of conducting a satisfaction survey in is to expand feedback on the quality of education and create conditions for systematic monitoring of the well-being and performance of students in schools. As of 2016, the satisfaction of students with their school is an official performance indicator.
Time of the survey
National satisfaction surveys are being conducted in general education schools for the second year. In addition to the main survey, new surveys prepared by the University of Tartu are also being used in general education schools in 2017.
The surveys will be conducted in February and March each year.
Students are surveyed every year and parents and teachers every three years.
- Students' well-being in schools - school happiness and satisfaction with different aspects of school environment.
- Teahers' satisfaction with working and learning environment.
- Parents' satisfaction with school and learning environment.
In the survey of 2018, measuring the number of aspects of satisfaction has been developed further as well the questionnaires are more age-appropriate . In addition to those, in the survey 2018 the reputation of vocational education training is included (only in the survey of 2018).
- 4th, 8th and 11th grade students;
- 1st to 12th grade teachers;
- Parents of 1st to 9th grade students;
- Adult upper secondary school students;
- Adult upper secondary school teachers
Filling in the survey
Students complete the satisfaction survey in the computer room at their school. Teachers and parents can fill in their survey at a place and time suitable to them.
The survey can be filled in in Estonian, Russian and English. We recommend using the language best known to the respondent.
On the basis of the analysis results, feedback is provided to all participant schools and their managers. It is school-specific and presented in comparison to the state average. No feedback is provided on answers given by a specific student, teacher or parent. Feedback is provided to the management, teachers, parents, students and managers alike.
Feedback reports will be forwarded to schools in spring 2018. The reports will be adjusted based on the school managers' feedback given in 2017.
As a result of renewing the forms of feedback in 2018, reports for schools now include the information about all target groups. The renewed feedback form example from 2018 in Estonian is available here.
Vocational school satisfaction survey
Purpose of the survey
The purpose of conducting a satisfaction survey in vocational schools is to expand feedback on the quality of education and create conditions for systematic monitoring of the well-being and performance of vocational school students and teachers.
Time of the survey
The first experimental survey was conducted in 2017. The next survey will be conducted in March 2020.
- Teachers from all fields
Filling in the survey
Surveys can be filled in electronically at a place and time suitable to you.
They can be accessed by opening the survey link sent to the target group by the school.
Answers may be provided in Estonian or Russian. We recommend using the language best known to the respondent.
On the basis of the analysis results, feedback is provided to all vocational education training schools. It is school-specific and presented in comparison with the state average. No feedback is provided on answers given by a specific teacher or student. Feedback is, above all, provided to the management, teachers and school managers.
Feedback on the pilot surveys was provided to vocational schools in April 2018.
Satisfaction survey among vocational and higher education school graduates
National studies on higher education graduates have previously been conducted over a three-year period. The last study was carried out in 2015 among Estonian students who graduated in 2012 and foreign students who graduated from an Estonian higher education institution between 2010 and 2012 (Cumulus Consulting 2015). The last survey was conducted in spring 2017 among students who graduated in 2015.
No regular studies have been carried out among vocational graduates. One central study on vocational graduates has been conducted previously: 2008-2010 graduates were surveyed in 2012 at the behest of the Innove Foundation. Various studies have been carried out among graduates of individual schools.
In spring/summer 2017 Civitta is conducting studies among vocational and higher education graduates as commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Research, focusing on four larger topics, incl. satisfaction with studies, life and current work:
- background information on the studies of gradates (e.g. reasons for choosing particular fields of study, working during studies and study migration);
- activities of graduates following their studies (further studies or employment);
- assessments of graduates on the quality of vocational or higher education and qualifications acquired;
- feedback provided by foreign graduates on higher education in Estonia.
The report on the survey of higher education graduates was published in summer 2017 and the vocational education report in October 2017. All schools may request their data and all vocational schools will receive feedback on their results. Reports are available in Estonian.
The survey provides an objective and comparable picture of the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of different parties and the reasons for this. All participating institutions will receive feedback on their results. It is important to share this with other parties and work together to address problems. This will also help kindergarten and school children and teachers feel happier.
Studies show that well-being in schools and kindergartens is related to both the health and study performance of the children. Central surveys have many advantages (such as saving money) compared to institutions or local authorities carrying them out independently. Such surveys also allow the results to be compared, thereby providing a better overview of every individual institution.
As they are prepared on the basis of scientific studies, the feedback is much more reliable. The common concept underlying the surveys enables the results to be compared among all parties involved in education.
1. 4th, 8th and 11th grade students and vocational students
2. Parents of kindergarten and basic school students
3. Teachers at all educational levels
4. Vocational and higher education school graduates
How long does it take to complete the survey?
Completing the survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes. A convenient option would be to use a PC or laptop with a mouse, but it can also be done via a web browser on an iPad (with a larger screen).
A convenient option would be to use a PC or laptop with a mouse, but it can also be done via a web browser on an iPad (with a larger screen). We recommend filling in the survey without any interruptions. If you leave the survey open for too long, you may encounter problems in continuing.
If you wish to pause and carry on later, click on ‘Continue later’ on the left-hand side of the survey. After this you can create a username and password that will allow you to save your incomplete form and later continue where you left off.
SA Innove, firstname.lastname@example.org