General FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What grade levels complete Tripod™ surveys?

Tripod surveys are available for K12 students, specifically designed for different age ranges:

Early Elementary (for students in K2)
Upper Elementary (for students in 35)
Secondary (for students in 6—12)

Surveys include items that are mainly observational (allowing students to record what they experience), rather than judgmental (asking students what they like and dislike). Students are presented with statements and indicate their level of agreement by selecting from a range (e.g. from “Totally Untrue” to “Totally True”).

Sample Items: Early Elementary survey
In this class, we learn a lot almost every day.
My classmates act the way my teacher wants them to.

Sample Items: Upper Elementary survey
My teacher wants me to explain my answers – why I think what I think.
In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes.

Sample Items: Secondary survey
In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort.
My teacher takes the time to summarize what we learn each day.

Please contact us if you would like to see additional sample items and details about the literature and research that is behind the Tripod framework.

Why do schools and districts survey at the K2 level?

Young children have points of view about their classrooms and sharing those views is useful. Young children are able to respond to surveys with good reliability, and we can pick up differences between classrooms from their responses.

How does Tripod use its national data set to norm survey results?

We use a database of millions of survey responses to calibrate results against broadly anchored norms, and the Tripod reporting platform presents engaging feedback for educators to promote school improvement and professional learning.

Students have completed Tripod surveys in a wide range of settings. Survey data from over 125,000 classrooms are used to norm results using Tripod’s scoring engine. Scoring can be provided using various comparison groups, and adjustments by classroom type are available.

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.

Are there examples of survey items from the teacher survey that can be reviewed?

Instructional Leadership and Teacher Collaboration for Instruction are two of the constructs covered by the Tripod teacher survey. Here are some examples of statements from this online survey for teachers.

Sample Items — Instructional Leadership

The PRINCIPAL at this school:

  • helps teachers figure out how to address particular instructional challenges.
  • visits my class and gives me helpful feedback afterward.
  • supports teachers in their efforts to improve teaching and learning.
  • places a high priority on engaging parents as partners in helping children to learn.
  • actively monitors the quality of teaching at this school.
  • makes sure that professional development addresses priority instructional goals.

Sample Items — Teacher Collaboration for Instruction

How often have you participated in a small group discussion lasting AT LEAST HALF AN HOUR, to:

  • look at student work and brainstorm together about how to help students perform more successfully on such work?
  • help another teacher improve his or her teaching?
  • discuss materials or activities for particular classes or lessons?
  • discuss common instructional assessments?
  • make teaching decisions using student performance data?

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Please let us know if you have any questions about Tripod.

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