Deciding Which Demographic Questions to Ask on Your Survey

What you’ll learn

Panorama’s platform supports demographic breakdowns on reports so you can see how the perceptions of respondents in various groups differ. This resource will help you set up your surveys to get this demographic data to appear in reports.

Why Demographic Data Matters

Understanding how your respondents’ perceptions differ by demographic group is extremely valuable when driving school improvement. Read how San Bernadino used demographic data to address disproportionate discipline here.

Below is an image showing how Panorama reports display differences in perceptions across groups. In this demo example, you can see how teacher perceptions differ across survey topics from teachers from different grade levels. For example, Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers feel less favorably about Curriculum & Instruction and Design than the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, while 3rd grade teachers may need the most additional supports across the board.

Take Action: 

Set up your surveys so demographic breakdowns appear in reports

When setting up your surveys, there are three ways to include group information in reports. You can mix and match these options to cover all of your demographic reporting needs (for instance, you can import some demographics and add custom questions to capture others for reports). 

Option 1: Import Demographics [Recommended] 

  • You can include any demographic data in your roster file that you'd like to see in your reports. If you are interested in seeing "Student Attendance" as an additional breakdown in your reports, for example, you would add a new column to your roster file. After you have uploaded this roster to your survey, you will only need to map them as "[Respondent] Other Demographic.", so if the survey is about students, this additional column would be mapped as "Student Other Demographic" in your roster upload will appear automatically in your reports. (To learn more about mapping, see step 4 in this resource).
  • The benefit of this option is that the survey would take less time to complete, since respondents don't need to respond to any demographic questions on their survey.
  • The roster template has sample demographic fields that are most common, but schools often find they're interested in other fields that they have within their SIS, such as "Financial Aid Status." 

Option 2: Select the “Background Questions” Topic 

  • You can select the "Background Questions" topic when building your survey content to ask pre-set demographic questions. These will appear on the surveys for respondents to self-report and will appear automatically on your reports as demographic breakdowns. 

Option 3: Add Custom Demographic Questions

You can add any custom questions that you would like, and they can be demographic questions or not. If you’d like to ask a demographic question for respondents to self-report, please reach out to so we can make sure this is set up correctly in your reports. Here are common custom demographic questions our partners use:

  • After school program attendance
  • Years student has been at this school/district
  • Specific questions about new initiatives, events, programs etc.
  • Since the gender background question with Panorama only allows students to choose between Male and Female some partners add gender here to allow for varied gender identities
  • Ethnicity
  • How many hours of technology used at home
  • Career plans

Setting up the demographic information on the front end helps ensure that your reports have the important information you’d like to explore. If you would like to explore your data at a more granular level in your reports, we encourage you to include this additional information in your surveys. If you have any questions about uploading demographic data to your platform, please reach out to our Support team at!

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