Deciding Which Topics to Measure

What You’ll Learn

Our team has developed several resources to help you select survey content. Use all of these resources or pick and choose to design a feedback or SEL survey that’s right for you.

Why Selecting Content Matters

All of Panorama’s instruments are designed as a series of scales, or group of questions related to a single topic. This design feature allows educators to customize the surveys by selecting the topics they wish to use in their school without compromising the integrity of the surveys. Aligning survey content with goal setting or strategic planning helps ensure the data gathered are as impactful as possible.

Take Action

Explore the resources below to decide which scales capture what you’d like to measure from your stakeholders.

  • Choosing Panorama Scales - This is a printable resource that can be helpful when selecting scales from Panorama’s content yourself or with a group of individuals in order to come to consensus about which topics to measure.  
  • User guides - Explore each of the User Guides for our instruments to understand our scales and decide on content to measure what really matters to you. 


How do we pick which scales to include?

Before selecting scales, spend some time thinking about what you’re hoping to learn and what your goals are for this project. Once you know your goals, use the resources below to select the scales that will best help you measure progress towards those goals.

How many scales should we choose?

Although this varies depending on your context and other factors listed below, we recommend choosing between 4 and 6 scales for each survey. Scales contain 6 questions on average. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting scales:

  • Your key interests. Use what you’re hoping to learn as a guide in selecting scales that will get you the data you need.
  • Survey length. On average, students in grades 6-12 and adults can answer three questions in a minute. A survey with five scales should take the average student or adult 10 minutes to complete.
  • Survey fatigue. Depending on how many surveys students will take, you may want to consider using fewer scales to avoid survey fatigue.

Can we include all the scales?

We encourage you to focus on the scales that are most important in order to reduce survey fatigue and gather only the data that is most important. The goal of collecting this feedback is to engage your community in reflecting on and taking action based on the data. Choose 4-6 scales to obtain targeted data while also being thoughtful of your survey-takers time.

Can we remove questions from a scale or change wording?

To get the best and most accurate data, scales should be used in their entirety. Learn more about the validity of our instruments here.

If I decide to do multiple surveys throughout the year, can we use different sets of scales each time?

Absolutely. There may be some topics that are more important or relevant at different points in the school year. As much as possible, think about using at least some of the same scales each time so that you’re able to track change over time and learn whether perceptions are improving.

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