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The benefits

Understand more about what students are experiencing. Identify areas of strength and opportunities to improve. Increase student engagement and learning outcomes. Track progress over time.


What We Offer Teachers

Student
Surveys

A well-designed, confidential survey provides students with an important way to share their perspectives. Created with educators and validated by independent research, Tripod surveys provide feedback about key dimensions of school life and teaching practices. A range of administration options are available and our teacher-driven model allows teachers to receive results in real-time.

Analysis and
Reporting

Tripod uses millions of student responses across over 225,000 classrooms to benchmark and calibrate results. Survey responses are analyzed and presented in user-friendly, online reports designed for teachers. Reports highlight areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, so teachers can quickly gauge where to focus attention.

A Framework for Professional Learning

Working closely with educators, Tripod has refined the Tripod framework over the course of more than a decade. The framework helps structure teacher reflection and goal-setting, and we provide protocols and useful resources to support teachers and their professional learning.

Tripod Resources
and Community

We know there are a wide range of resources available to support professional learning. These may be offered by schools and districts or freely available on the internet. We are partnering with educators to collect and organize these available resources. We are also building online communities focused on the Tripod framework.

FAQS

How did Tripod start?

Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson of Harvard University created the first Tripod surveys with teachers in Ohio in 2001. Tripod began as a bridge from research to practice for teachers working to raise achievement levels and narrow gaps. Tripod has evolved since 2001 into the most trusted product of its kind and is widely used around the nation.

How many people have used Tripod surveys?

Over 100,000 teachers have received valuable feedback from millions of students who have completed Tripod surveys. Surveys have been administered in every region of the United States, ranging from rural districts with as few as 300 students to urban districts with over a million students.

How have Tripod surveys been refined and validated?

We continually refine our surveys in response to research findings, field experiences, and feedback from educators and students. Now in their 18th generation, the Tripod survey instruments were the only classroom-level surveys studied and validated by the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. The MET project found that Tripod surveys were the most reliable of the measures studied, and that they also predicted year-to-year gains in test scores.

How do you ensure the Tripod survey is not a popularity contest?

The items on the student surveys do not ask students to identify a teacher as effective or ineffective. Instead, the survey items seek levels of agreement with statements like, “Our class stays busy and does not waste time,” and “If you don’t understand something, my teacher explains it another way.” Items such as these are observational (allowing students to record what they experience), rather than judgmental (asking students what they like and dislike).

Is the Tripod survey a professional development tool or a diagnostic tool?

Both. We consider diagnostic and professional development uses to be linked—part of the same process. Student perceptions of instructional practices help identify a teacher’s strengths and areas for growth, providing detailed feedback about what students experience every day. Tripod survey results provide information that teachers can use to set specific priorities for differentiated professional development and coaching support.

Because Tripod was the only student survey validated by the Measures of Effective Teaching project, some states and districts have moved to incorporate Tripod surveys as one of multiple measures in new teacher evaluation systems. While this use is helpful in avoiding an over-emphasis on test scores or observations alone, Tripod has encouraged the use of surveys to promote professional learning. Tripod can enhance teacher evaluation systems by providing an additional perspective, but we always want the major focus to remain instructional improvement.

Who will see my Tripod results?

There are two different ways teachers participate in Tripod. We provide a direct-to-teacher offering that allows you to administer an annual survey. We require you to get permission from your school leader, but results in the direct-to-teacher model are private, for you. Of course you can share results with others if you choose, but this is your choice.

We also work with school and district leaders to administer Tripod as a school- and district-sponsored survey program. When the use of Tripod surveys is sponsored by the school or district, the leaders work with teachers to determine if results will be private or shared with supervisors.

How do students take the survey?

Students complete Tripod surveys as a structured activity, as a part of a specified class period/time. There are surveys of different lengths, with shorter versions taking 15 minutes, on average. Students may take longer to complete other versions, depending on how many survey modules are included.  As with any assessment, there will be some students who finish early and others who need more time.

The online survey needs to be administered on devices with Internet access. This might be in a computer lab or using tablets or laptops in a classroom setting. Internet access is required, but no additional software or downloads are needed. District- or school-sponsored surveys can be administered in an online or paper-based format. At this time, the K-2 version of surveys is only available in a paper-based format.

Can all teachers participate?

Tripod is available to teachers of all subjects. Online surveys are available for grades 3 through 12, and paper-based survey programs are available at all grades.

Encourage your school to make Tripod surveys available to you. Organize a team to use results for your professional learning. Sign up to learn more.

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