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Combined Survey Analysis

Introduction

This report details the key findings of a study carried out in four schools, Salford, Gore High School, Mt Anglem College and Clifton Primary School, by the Business and Training Services division of the Southland Polytechnic. Salford school was surveyed during the months of October and November 1997, the others during the months of May and June 1999.

The project was commissioned by the New Zealand Foundation for Values Education Inc, on behalf of these schools.

At the time of this final analysis the schools’ decile rating by the Ministry of Education was as follows:

Decile Rating School Type of School
2D Clifton School New entrants => Year 8 (Form 2)
10 Salford New entrants => Year 6
3 Mt Anglem Form 1 => Form 7
7 Gore High School Form 3 => Form 7 Rural High School

Survey Purpose

The key objective of this survey was to provide quantitative information from the parents/caregivers of students studying at each school concerning the following:

Sampling Method

A questionnaire, covering letter and freepost envelope were sealed in an addressed envelope and given to students to take home.

The covering letter and survey form requested respondents to have replies returned by a specific date.

Response Rate:

Salford School

180 questionnaires were distributed and 97 responses received. This was a response rate of 53.8% considered very satisfactory for a written survey.

Gore High School

482 questionnaires were distributed and 186 responses received. This was a response rate of 38.5% considered average for a written survey.

Mt Anglem College

730 questionnaires were distributed and 234 responses received. This was a response rate of 32% considered average for a written survey.

Clifton Primary School

Seventy questionnaires were distributed and 30 responses received. This was a response rate of 42.8% considered average for a written survey.

Questionnaire

A copy of the questionnaire is appended to this report.

Points to Consider

Before reading the results of this survey, the reader should be aware of the following:

  1. Rankings for values/characteristics have been recorded on the basis of respondent’s selection of “essential”, i.e., selection of 1 on a scale of 1 to 5.
  2. Question C required respondents to rank five values in order of preference. The following respondent error should be noted.
    • Twenty-six respondents from Salford School did not rank their preferences. Rather, they selected five options without assigning ranking values.
    • Sixty-seven respondents from Gore High School misinterpreted these instructions in a variety of ways.
    • 118 respondents from Mt Anglem College misinterpreted these instructions in a variety of ways. Three respondents chose not to answer the question.
    • Eighteen respondents from Clifton Primary School misinterpreted these instructions in a variety of ways.
    • Given the high level of respondent error in interpreting this question the ratings for the five values, caution should be exercised in developing any conclusions. The break down of respondents’ errors, by school, is included in the appendix.
  3. Question B gave respondents the opportunity to comment. Most respondents took the opportunity to do so. Some respondents also made unsolicited comments throughout the survey. Comments were then grouped into categories. It is these categories that this report will discuss.
  4. Late surveys that arrived after the cut-off date were not included in this study. The following is the breakdown by school of late surveys. Salford School, five, Gore High School, ten; Mt Anglem, five; Clifton Primary School, three.

Executive Summary

The information gathered from the Cornerstone Values questionnaire given to parents/caregivers at Salford, Gore High School, Mt Anglem College and Clifton Primary School provides several findings regarding care givers’ perceptions of a Values Education Curriculum, and its applicability within each of the school’s cirriculums.

Parents/caregivers from all four schools ranked honest and truthful as the most important quality that they would like their child/ren to possess.

There was a high degree of similarity in the rankings of the values/qualities/characteristics selected by over 80% of the parents/caregivers from each of the four schools in the study.

Parents/caregivers from all four schools ranked honest and truthful as the most important quality that they would like their child/ren to possess. Willingness to be accountable for own behaviour was ranked second by parents/care givers at two of the schools studied and second equal at the other two. Respectful was ranked as the third most important quality for their child/ren to possess by parents/caregivers at three schools and second equal at Salford school.

A majority of those surveyed viewed teaching moral values as part of a school’s curriculum as essential. The vast majority considered it important to some degree. The percentage breakdown by school is as follows:

School Absolutely Essential Very Important or Important Not Important
Salford School 72% 26% 2%
Gore High 55.7% 42.7% 1.6%
Mount Anglem 60.3% 38% 1.7%
Clifton School 53.3% 43.4% 3.3%

When asked why they considered it important for a school to teach moral values, parents/caregivers gave a variety of responses. These were then grouped together on the basis of similarity of comments. It is significant to note the similarity in views expressed by parents/caregivers of children attending the four separate schools surveyed. Parents/caregivers from each of the four schools surveyed expressed comments that could be grouped into the following categories:

It is important to note that several respondents from the second grouping of schools (Gore High, Mount Anglem College, and Clifton School) expressed comments that indicated that they felt it was either solely or primarily the right/responsibility of parents/caregivers to teach morals.

Parents/caregivers were then asked to select five values they would most like to be emphasised in a school’s value education programme. Parents/care givers from all four schools placed honesty as the number one quality they wanted their child/ren to possess. Parents/caregivers with children attending Salford School, Gore High, and Mount Anglem also agreed in rating responsibility number two, and respect number three. With care givers from Clifton also selecting these values but reversing the ranking.

Parents/caregivers were then asked whether a school having a values education programme would affect their decision to send their child/ren to that school. The following table details by school parents/caregivers inclination to send their child/ren to a school with a values programme.

School More Less Unsure/no response
Salford School 87.6% 2.1% 10.3%
Gore High 85.5% 3.2% 11.3%
Mount Anglem 84.6% 4.3% 11.1%
Clifton School 93.3% 6.7% 0%

It appears clear from these results that adding a values programme to a school’s curriculum would add to the school’s attractiveness for a majority of parents/caregivers.

Survey Results:


Executive Summary

Question A required respondents to rate a variety of qualities, character traits and values that they would like their children to possess. These were rated on a scale of one to five, with one being essential, and five being not important.

Key to ratings

The following values/qualities/characteristics were selected by 80% or more of parents/caregivers, in the schools studied as essential for their children to possess:

Salford School

Honest and truthful 91.8%
Willing to be accountable for own behaviour 82.5%
Respectful 82.5%
Polite, courteous, good mannered 80.4%
Responsible and dependable 80.4%

Gore High School

Honest and truthful 94.1%
Willing to be accountable for own behaviour 89.2%
Respectful 84.9%
Responsible and dependable 81.7%

Mount Anglem

Honest and truthful 88.0%
Willing to be accountable for own behaviour 85.9%
Respectful 84.2%

Clifton School

Honest and truthful 93.3%
Fit and healthy 86.7%
Willing to be accountable for own behaviour 86.7%
Respectful 80.0%

Discussion of Results

Parents/caregivers from all four schools ranked honest and truthful as the most important quality that they would like their child/ren to possess. Willingness to be accountable for own behaviour was ranked second by care givers at two of the schools studied and second equal at the other two. Respectful was ranked as the third most important quality for their child/ren to possess by parents/caregivers at three schools and second equal at Salford school.

Parents/caregivers at Salford School ranked responsible and dependable third equal, while at Gore High it was ranked by parents/caregivers as the fourth most important characteristic they would like their child/ren to possess.

Only parents/caregivers at Salford School ranked polite, courteous, good mannered at over 80%. This was ranked third equal with responsible and dependable.

Clifton School parents/caregivers were the only ones to rank fit and healthy over 80%, placing it second equal with accountable for own behaviour.

The similarity in the rankings of the values/qualities/characteristics selected by over 80% of the parents/caregivers from each of the four schools in the study was striking.

Section 2 – Importance of School Teaching Moral Values

Question B required parents/caregivers at each of the schools studied to rank on a scale of one to five how important they believed it was for a school to teach moral values and develop good character. The results by school follow in graph form.

Salford School

Salford School Results Graph

Gore High School

Gore High School Results Graph

Mt Anglem College

Mt Anglem College Results Graph

Clifton School

Clifton School Results Graph

Discussion of Results

Salford School

Salford School parents/caregivers generally believed that it was important to teach moral values at school. Over 72% of parents believed it was absolutely essential, while a further 26% placed some degree of importance upon the issue. There was a small proportion of parents (2%) who did not place much, if any, importance on this issue.

Gore High School

Gore High parents/caregivers generally believed that it was important to teach moral values at school. With 55.7% of parents/caregivers viewing it as essential and a further 22.0% considering it very important. Only a very small percentage of parents/caregivers (1.6%) did not place much or any importance on the issue. Only one respondent was uncertain or did not want to comment.

Mount Anglem

Mount Anglem parents/caregivers generally believed that it was important to teach moral values at school. With almost two thirds (60.3%) of parents/caregivers viewing it as essential and a further 26.9% considering it very important. Only a very small percentage of parents/caregivers (1.7%) did not place much or any importance on the issue. Seven respondents were uncertain or did not want to comment.

Clifton School

Clifton School parents/caregivers generally believed it was important to teach moral values at school. With 53.3% feeling it was essential and 23.3% feeling it very important. A further 20% felt it was important, while only 3.3% (one respondent) felt it not so important.

This question also asked respondents to give reasons why they perceived it was important for a school to teach moral values. The response rate for this question by school studied is detailed below.

School Response Rate
Salford School 88.7%
Gore High 75.8%
Mount Anglem 73.1%
Clifton School 76.7%

This was an encouraging response rate, and reflects the concern of the issue to parents/caregivers.

The qualitative responses of each parents/caregiver were then grouped into categories. These categories by school were as follows.

Salford School

Gore High School

Mount Anglem College

Clifton School

Many respondents gave detailed answers to this question, which comprised of more than one single reason. Where a respondent’s response could be included in more than one category, his or her full response has been included under all the relevant categories. For this reason no attempt has been made to try and weight the qualitative comments of parents/caregivers.

Again it is interesting to note the similarity in views expressed by parents/caregivers of children attending the four separate schools surveyed. Parents/caregivers from each of the four schools surveyed expressed comments that could be grouped into the following categories:

The majority of schools surveyed, all except Gore High, had parents/caregivers that expressed thoughts that discussed the idea that given the amount of time students spent at school the teaching of values by these institutions was important.

Only parents/caregivers at Salford School and Gore High School felt that teachers were role models and as such should be teaching values.

It is important to note that several respondents from the second grouping of schools (Gore High, Mount Anglem College, and Clifton School) clearly felt that it was either solely or primarily the right/responsibility of parents/caregivers to teach morals. Some of these respondents however felt that the school did have a role to play. Either in reinforcing moral values taught at home, imparting moral values to children who did not learn them at home or working in partnership with parents/caregivers to impart morals. The breakdown by school of the number of this type of respondent is as follows:

School Number of Respondents
Gore High 34
Mount Anglem 19
Clifton School 4

Researcher Notes:

Respondent’s responses were recorded as each respondent wrote them. This was to prevent researcher interpretation, and was upon these unaltered comments that the groupings were based.

For privacy reasons no qualitative comments have been included in this report which is essentially an overview of four separate studies.

Section 3 – Values to be most emphasised

Question C required parents/caregivers to choose, in order of preference, five values that they would like a Values Education Curriculum to emphasise most. The following fourteen values were listed for parents to select.

Compassion Concern for Others
Courage Courtesy
Diligence Duty
Honesty Integrity
Justice Kindness
Obedience Respect
Responsibility Other

Respondent Error

It should be noted again that a number of respondents from each school misinterpreted these instructions in a variety of ways (refer appendix for breakdown of error types by school). As such the resulting rankings for the five values have been affected by this respondent error.

Results by School

The top five values chosen by parents/caregivers as the “most preferred” in a Values Education Programme by school were:

Salford School

Gore High School

Mount Anglem College

Clifton School

Discussion of Results


Given the previous level of agreement among parents/caregivers from the four schools surveyed it is not surprising to again note the remarkable level of agreement expressed as to the top five values parents/caregivers would like their child/ren to possess.

Parents/caregivers from all four schools placed honesty as the number one quality they wanted their child/ren to possess. Parents/caregivers with children attending Salford School, Gore High, and Mount Anglem also agreed in rating responsibility number two, and respect number three. With parents/caregivers from Clifton also selecting these values but reversing the ranking. Salford School and Gore High care givers both ranked integrity as number four and concern for others number five. Mount Anglem parents/caregivers also selected these values but reversed the ranking

Only parents/caregivers from Clifton School placed the values of compassion and obedience in the top five list of values they would like their children to possess.

Inclination to send child/ren to a school teaching a values programme

The following table details by school parents/caregivers inclination to send their child/ren to a school with a values programme.

School More Less Unsure/no response
Salford School 87.6% 2.1% 10.3%%
Gore High 85.5% 3.2% 11.3%
Mount Anglem 84.6% 4.3% 11.1%
Clifton School 93.3% 6.7% 0%

It appears clear from these results that adding a values programme to a school’s curriculum would add to the school’s attractiveness for a majority of parents/caregivers.

Conclusion

Overall there appears to be a very high degree of similarity as to the type of values parents/caregivers would like their child/ren to possess. There is also a high level of agreement as to the importance of schools teaching moral values and the reasons why such a programme should be established. The importance placed on various values by parents/caregivers is also remarkably similar as is the level of support for such a programme as evidenced by parents/caregivers inclination to send their child/ren to a school teaching a values programme.

However it is important to note that a significant number of parents/caregivers either view the teaching of values to their child/ren as either solely their role or see teachers as partners in the process supporting the teaching of values they have imparted to their child/ren at home.

Breakdown of respondent error for question C relating to importance of teaching moral values

Salford School

Clifton School

Mt Anglem College

Gore High School


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