Guest Opinion: Why the WPSD Facilities Survey Cannot be Relied On
Pew Research has reported that perhaps the most important part
of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately
measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the public.
Accurate random sampling is wasted if the information gathered is
built on a shaky foundation of ambiguous or biased questions.
Creating good measures involves both writing good questions and
organizing them to form the questionnaire.
Pew goes on to say that one of the most significant decisions that
can affect how people answer questions is whether the question
is posed as an open-ended question where respondents provide
a response in their own words, or a closed-ended question, where
they are asked to choose from a list of answer choices.
1) Research confirms that If participants are given an
opportunity to volunteer an option on the list, the survey will
produce a much different outcome. In the November 2022
WPSD survey, the questions were all closed-ended.
Participants were not given the opportunity to provide a
response in their own words.
2) In addition to the number and choice of response options
offered, the order of answer categories can influence
how people respond to closed-ended questions.
Research suggests that in self-administered surveys, they
tend to choose items at the top of the list (known as a
“primacy” effect). As an example, we see evidence of this
bias on the survey under the Question,
“What is your preference for 6th Grade”.
The first choice is: “6th graders in the Middle School.
3) Along with all of that, the Survey was weighted:
a) Merit Parents & Staff did not get a survey even though
they are stakeholders in the WPSD.
b) Parents were sent one survey per child they have in the
district - not one per household.
c) Teachers with students in the district received one survey
per child plus a teacher survey
d) Former district employees were also sent a survey – that
alone creates serious integrity issues.
e) The Survey did not include WPSD taxpayers who are also
stakeholders and are ultimately responsible for funding
There are potentially 3 times as many voters in the WPSD than
parents and teachers. If the administration were truly looking for
stakeholder feedback regarding school spending, utilization of
buildings, etc. why did they not include all stakeholders in their
In the last 2 decades, WPSD has seen a 36% decline in
enrollment. Merit has experienced a 15% growth just last year
alone. In order for our district to thrive and to utilize our hard-
earned tax dollars effectively, we have to provide room where the
growth Is happening. That’s just common sense. So I ask, did we
really need to spend $8500 on such an ambiguous survey? If in
the future, the board, district or superintendent want to create a
survey before decisions are made, I respectfully request that they
survey ALL STAKEHOLDERS and take the time to professionally
craft a survey that will give them more accurate information going