Conditions For Learning Survey

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Ottumwa Schools will administer an annual school climate and culture survey called Conditions for Learning Survey to students in grades 3-12. This survey administration is required by the state’s plan to meet a federal law called The Every Student Succeeds Act. Ottumwa Schools will conduct the survey on between April 27 and May 12. All Iowa public school districts use the Conditions for Learning Survey to improve safety, student engagement, and the overall learning environment so that all Iowa students have optimum conditions for learning. Our work to improve safety, student engagement, and the overall learning environment will have a lasting impact on the future.  

Iowa measures conditions for learning by asking the real experts each year - our students and families. This is their chance to make their voice heard, and we intend to listen. Studies have shown this work matters. Improving skills such as solving problems, working out conflict, and working with other people in a group has led to double-digit increases on achievement test scores, improved classroom behavior and improved attitudes.

Ottumwa will use the online survey to assess the conditions for learning in our schools for students in grades 3-12 and their parents. As we continue efforts to Be The Best, this data will help our district make decisions that impact student learning. Student responses will be confidential, and individual response data will not be available to anyone in the survey platform or in reporting. Ottumwa Schools will receive aggregated data annually at the building level to support alignment of professional development with identified culture and climate needs.

We will ask students and parents to simply fill out a confidential survey. The survey will focus on issues ranging from student safety, positive student relationships, to school rules and how they are enforced. A high rate of participation by students in completing the Conditions for Learning Survey is important for obtaining the most complete school climate data for our school. Support from you in communicating to your students that this is their chance to be heard and to be part of the effort to improve conditions for learning at their school is critical.  

Parents received a letter regarding the survey, additional information, and a written refusal form.

During the spring of 2021, if your child is in grades 3-12, they will be invited to complete a brief Conditions for Learning Survey (Survey) online. Student participation in the survey is highly encouraged, but is voluntary and no student is required to fill out the survey. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. Parents will also receive a link to complete a similar survey during the administration window.

Purpose of the Survey
The purpose of the survey is to obtain information about how students feel about the culture and climate of their school and teachers, as well as the safety of their school. The information collected will help the state, our schools, and local community improve the school. It is important to ask children to tell us what is good and working about their experience in school, and what needs to be improved, in their eyes. 

Parental Rights:

  • Parents/guardians have the right and the responsibility to be informed about what their child volunteers to participate in at school.
  • Parents/guardians have the right to receive accurate information about the Conditions for Learning Survey in order to make good decisions for their family.

All information collected will be confidential. Students will use their state student identification number to complete the Survey to match the demographic information already being collected from student information systems. Individual student responses will not be identifiable in the reporting platform to any user, and no Department, district, or school employee will have access to identifiable student level data. Results are aggregated and only reported by subgroups for which there are at least 10 respondents.

There will be no payment or reward for students filling out the Survey.


  • All students in grades 3-12 will be invited to fill out the survey. Students will have the right to refuse to answer any questions on the survey. If a student decides they want to change their mind and not complete the survey, they may do so.
  • Parents/guardians have the right to not allow their child to participate in the survey. Parents/guardians must return the Refusal of Consent form provided, and their child/children will be provided with another activity during the survey class period. There is no penalty for anyone who decides not to participate.

There is no direct risk in filling out the Survey. Students may find some questions uncomfortable or difficult to answer. They may leave blank any question they do not wish to answer and may stop taking the Survey at any point.

The data collected throughout the state will provide schools and communities with the information they need to provide programs that will support schools, communities and families in keeping their children safe and hopeful about their future.

Questions regarding the Conditions for Learning Survey are welcome. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your school principal or the Iowa Department of Education at [email protected]