Survey: More LAUSD Students Have College or Graduate School Plans

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 29, 2012) - A rising percentage of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District plan to attend college and graduate school, suggesting that efforts in the nation’s second-largest public school system to broaden interest in higher education have begun taking root, according to a new survey.

The fourth-annual Student Experience Survey of more than 535,000 students (grades three through 11), teachers, parents and staff is a critical means for soliciting opinions that shape District policies. The poll, taken last spring, covered a broad range of questions from asking about the extent of parent engagement to the quality of learning opportunities to the level of perceived safety on campus. 

“Student voices are essential in order to transform this District,” said Board President Mónica García. “Young people can teach us a lot about solutions that improve their educational system.”

Superintendent John Deasy said: “The results of this annual survey help us gauge how well we’re serving our students and communities through opinions from a wide range of students, parents, teachers and others. I think it shows we’re headed in the right direction, in particular, with making our graduates college-prepared and workforce-ready.”

Student interest in college echoes the District’s plans to raise the graduation rate District-wide. In fact, a record number of students took courses last year that qualified them for college credit, advanced placement in high school or both.

Survey highlights included:
•    The students remained generally positive about feeling cared for, and being challenged by their coursework. More than 80% of students surveyed reported that their teacher cared about them and that what they were learning required a lot of thinking.

•    The percentage of parents who talked with their child’s teacher about schoolwork decreased overall to 41% from 58% a year earlier. That result fell far short of the District’s 65% goal.

•    The percentage of all high school teachers (at least 85%), middle school teachers (88%) and elementary teachers (93%) said they agreed with the statement: “I work with other teachers to improve my instruction.”

•    The percentage of elementary teachers who based their instructional decisions on data rose to 90%, gaining nearly 20 percentage points from four years ago. At the secondary level, data use increased to 70% from 43% at senior high schools over the same period.
More than 86% of elementary and middle school students said they felt safe on school grounds. The District reached this year’s goal, and hopes that further changes made during the school year will push the number higher in next year’s survey.

Still, one major issue that still needs further attention elementary and middle schools is bullying. More than half of students, who responded to the survey, in those grades three through eight agreed that intimidation is a problem. But the percentage of high school students, who feel threatened at school, dropped 11 percentage points to 25% from a year earlier.

Other areas of concern included graffiti and gangs. More than 40% of all students worry about graffiti, a slightly smaller figure than a year ago. Likewise, almost 40% of elementary students were worried about gangs, but a smaller percentage of high school students, one out of four, felt pestered by them.

But students in all grade levels said that adults at school made stronger efforts to enforce rules that bar teasing or name-calling. Moreover, those taking the survey said there is better communication between schools and parent who want to serve schools as a volunteer. The poll showed more than 90% of parents felt welcomed to participate at school across all grade levels. 

The full report, starting in mid-September, can be viewed online at                       

Contact: Daryl Strickland (213) 241-6766