To determine community needs and targeted solutions to the graduation crisis, we must tap into the attitudes of young people themselves. That’s why America’s Promise Alliance partnered with Gallup and the American Association of School Administrators on a breakthrough measurement of the thoughts, feelings and needs of America’s young people. The Gallup Student Poll is the first comprehensive survey to give young people a clear voice in the national dialogue about what they need to succeed.
The initial poll results were released May 5, 2009, showing that more than one-third of students surveyed in grades 5-12 are struggling or suffering, and half (50 percent) are not hopeful, as quantified by Gallup researchers. The findings mark the beginning of what will quickly become the largest-ever survey of American children, and will help school systems and communities benchmark progress and determine solutions to the dropout crisis. Currently, one in three American students does not graduate from high school.
A nationally representative poll was released August 12, 2010, indicatig that one-third (34 percent) of youth ages 10-18 are poised to achieve academically, socially and civically, and half (53 percent) are hopeful, while 63 percent are fully engaged in school, as quantified by Gallup research. This survey was the second public poll to come out of the Gallup Student Poll initiative.
Gallup, America’s premier polling organization, has drawn on 40 years of experience to contribute this powerful tool and software platform. The poll is available at no charge to all school districts. Gallup will store, aggregate and analyze the data from completed surveys. Together, America’s Promise Alliance and Gallup will use the results to build public will and drive public policy to improve graduation rates and readiness for college and work.
Measuring What Matters
The online survey of students in grades 5-12 assesses hope, engagement and well-being — true indicators of student success that link to grades, test scores, retention and employment. Hope, for example, predicts academic success more fully than traditional measures. Nationwide, 28 percent of students are disengaged — a figure that mirrors the overall dropout rate. The poll’s measures of well-being estimate both academic achievement and a young person’s ability to flourish.
Our demonstrated ability to mobilize Americans, and our reach into communities across the country through our partner network (which includes associations of mayors, governors and school administrators), makes our Alliance uniquely qualified to bring this poll into widespread use.
Survey results will help communities and schools identify needs and resource gaps, target effective solutions, support local and state dropout prevention summits, and drive the work of America's Promise. Because they can drill down from aggregate data to information from the local school level, communities can pinpoint localized needs and tailor strategies accordingly. Such levels of data on student attitudes simply have never before been available.
Goals for this effort include:
- Driving public will to advance targeted strategies to improve outcomes for children
- Informing key decision makers about what challenges our young people face
- Supporting greater collaboration and innovation of services and resources to target specific needs
- Transforming how parents, schools and communities address needs of young people