How to Improve PBIS Programs with Student Surveys


In what ways are you collecting information about student academic and behavior growth as well as student feedback? If your school has implemented a PBIS program, using student survey data can provide important information about how effective it is. As school leadership focuses on ways to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students, the PBIS framework provides structure and unique opportunities for different school communities.

A key part of PBIS implementation is identifying expectations for behaviors and providing incentives to cultivate positive culture within the school. PBIS focuses on multiple tiers of scaffolded supports that can address any needs of students, even if those include individualized intervention. For students and classroom teachers, PBIS structures create a positive and effective learning environment. 

Knowing whether or not your PBIS program is helping student development is a must for PBIS implementation. In addition to teacher-reported behavior, this information should be gathered by using surveys to collect data about the student experience.

→ Check out our simple, monthly Student SEL and Climate Survey

Student survey data is not only important for shifting to positive school environments but it is an opportunity to include student voice in schoolwide decisions. For students who find the school environment to be challenging or feel as though they do not fit in, climate and culture surveys will provide more insight into their experiences that schools can act on. Advancing the learning space for students by listening to their options and experiences is important to the school climate and PBIS implementation.

Survey Types

Social and Emotional Learning — Measuring student SEL competencies provides helpful context for classroom teachers. This information can inform classroom student engagement and the ways the teacher can introduce new behaviors and SEL skills that support growth and development. 

  • Example survey statement: I get along with students who are different from me.

School Climate — Surveys measuring school safety, support and other areas that inform the school experience are important for schoolwide decision-making. School climate focuses on how students feel in their school space and connects that experience to ways the school can effectively create an environment that welcomes all students and supports their success.

  • Example survey statement: I am happy to be at this school.

Progress Monitoring — For students who are working on a specific skill or behavior change, a survey can help monitor their growth and progress. This type of survey can measure student progress against benchmarks established by the teachers.

  • Example survey statement: I stop and think before doing anything when I get angry.

If you are looking to implement surveys that provide real-time feedback, check out Kickboard’s Student Surveys.

Surveys can provide data related to measurable goals set by the classroom teacher or the school leaders. Setting a calendar for survey distribution and review makes the process easier and creates a manageable data cycle. Using technology to take short surveys or tools that can be used in a virtual classroom also makes the survey accessible to students. Once the surveys are established, be intentional about how you use the response data to inform your practice. 

Keep a few things in mind:

  1. Consider the context for your school. Design or choose a survey that asks questions related to your goals and is research-based.
  2. Review the data to set goals for improvement. 
  3. Survey the same topics again to measure your progress and inform next steps. 
  4. Adjust and be flexible.

For school leaders, the survey data not only support individual student growth by providing key data points to inform the school culture and climate, but this information can be used at a district level. Schools who consistently and efficiently collect student data can report to their district with details about the school climate and culture. This is important in providing evaluation insights to district level staff about student performance.

Surveys are a great way to collect student data and gather feedback on the school climate and culture. The information is both useful and powerful for impacting the PBIS framework for the school. Meeting the established benchmarks for student learning is achievable. Ensuring the learning environment is both safe and inclusive increases students’ learning achievement.