Early Findings from a Reexamination of the 5Essentials Survey

What's New

The 5Essentials Survey and underlying framework identifies five key elements, or “essential supports,” of a school that influence its students’ learning: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, and Ambitious Instruction. The 5Essentials Survey captures the strength of each essential support through survey questions completed by teachers and students. Underlying concepts that make up each essential, such as Instructional Leadership or Student-Teacher Trust, are captured using groups of questions (called “measures”).

The 5Essentials Survey is one of the few validated instruments to measure school climate. Schools that are strong in at least three of the five essential supports are up to 10 times more likely to experience substantial gains in students’ math and reading scores. More than 6,000 schools nationwide have administered the 5Essentials Survey.

The new UChicago Consortium study “Supporting School Improvement: Early Findings from a Reexamination of the 5Essentials Survey” adds an important additional outcome for elementary schools—students’ GPAs—and, even more importantly, also assesses the validity of the 5Essentials Survey in high schools. The high school analyses encompass a range of outcomes: GPAs, attendance, test scores, college enrollment, and Freshman OnTrack rates.

Why It Matters

The 5Essentials Survey measures continue to be predictive of school improvement in elementary schools, and are also predictive in high schools. Of the 22 survey measures, all were in some way positively and significantly associated with schools’ improvement. At the same time, all measures were not associated with all outcomes.

Both starting out the year with strength in 5Essentials Survey measures and improving on measures during the course of the year predicted improved student outcomes in schools. In addition, the 5Essentials Survey measures were positively and significantly related to growth in elementary test scores and attendance.

Finally, there exists a relationship between 5Essentials Survey measures and outcomes across all grade levels. Elementary GPA also improved more in schools with strong 5Essentials Survey measures. High school outcomes—GPA, attendance, test scores, college enrollment, and Freshman OnTrack—were positively and significantly related to 5Essentials Survey measures.