California School Climate Survey

Educators conversingTo efficiently and cost-effectively provide schools with data from their teachers, administrators, and other staff to guide school improvement efforts and foster positive learning and teaching environments, the California Department of Education (CDE) commissioned the development of the online, web-based California School Climate Survey (CSCS). Since 2004, all local education agencies in California are required to administer the CSCS at least once ever two years as part of compliance with No Child Left Behind. Districts have also been asked to support the state’s efforts to close the racial/ethnic achievement gap and engage all students in learning. The survey is being used by schools throughout the nation, and is required by the federal government of participants in the national evaluation of the Safe Schools Healthy Students program.

This short survey provides a means to confidentially obtain staff perceptions about learning and teaching conditions for both general and special education, in order to regularly inform decisions about professional development, instruction, the implementation of learning supports, and school reform. It can also be customized with additional questions to meet a school’s specific needs. Underlying the survey is research and theory supporting the importance of fostering school environments that are academically challenging, caring, participatory, safe, and healthy.

The CSCS is part of a comprehensive learning supports data system developed by WestEd for the California Department of Education that includes the California Healthy Kids Survey, which provides comparable data from students.

Information on administering the survey OUTSIDE CALIFORNIA

Major Survey Features:

  • Assesses both student learning and staff working conditions (K-12), providing data to address the problem of teacher recruitment and retention.
  • Is concerned with general and special education, and how they can be integrated.
  • Aims to provide data that link instruction with the assessment of non-cognitive barriers to learning, such as substance abuse, violence and victimization, and poor mental health among students.
  • Addresses issues such as equity, bias, and cultural competence, which have been linked to the achievement gap plaguing racial/ethnic minorities.
  • It can be customized, including questions of your own choosing.
  • Has a companion student survey (the California Healthy Kids Survey) that provides student self-report data to compare with staff perceptions
  • Supplementary Military Connected Schools Module to assess staff perceptions of the needs of military-dependent students and their schools. Companion student and parent modules are also available.
Tom Torlakson

“We all know that children can only learn to their full potential when they feel safe and secure at school and in their classroom. The California School Climate Survey, and its companion the California Healthy Kids Survey, provide a venue for students to express how they really feel about their school experience and their classroom environment. These surveys provide teachers and administrators the critical data needed to create positive learning environments in our schools. I strongly encourage all school districts to participate in these important surveys.”

Tom Torlakson

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

News and Highlights

  • New! Assessing School Climate (pdf) describes the changes made to the CHKS and CSCS that enhance their value for assessing school climate.
  • Staff Survey with Learning Conditions Module (pdf). A new module assessing districts' and schools' Learning Conditions in more depth is now available upon request. Questions measure five constructs: support for learning; discipline and order; social, emotional, and behavioral supports; positive peer relationships (anti-bullying related); and respect for diversity.
  • Helpful Resources for Local Control and Accountability Plans and School Safety Plans (pdf). This document describes how the CHKS — along with its companion school staff and parent surveys that together comprise the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey System (Cal-SCHLS) — are an invaluable resource to California schools for developing, monitoring, and evaluating their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and comprehensive School Safety Plan, as required by state legislation.

Companion Surveys

CSPS is part of the comprehensive California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (Cal-SCHLS) System. Learn more about Cal-SCHLS..

Students

The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a comprehensive and customizable student self-report data collection system that provides essential and reliable data on school climate; youth resilience, health and well-being; and learning barriers and supports. Visit the Website

Parents

The California School Parent Survey (CSPS) assesses the experiences and views of parents related to school climate, student achievement, and parent outreach, in comparison to staff and student perspectives. Visit the Website