What’s with this Clarity survey?

Staff members, secondary students, and parents in the district should have received an email within the past week about the BrightBytes Clarity survey, a tool we use to evaluate the effectiveness of our technology program.  This survey is provided – at no cost to the district – by the statewide AEA system, and offers a number of important benefits to the Iowa City Schools (below).  

Data to Inform Decisions

The survey results include important data, such as the percentage of students at each grade level and building, who have smartphones.  These data allow us to craft and implement policy with a better understanding of context and our current reality

Effectiveness Ratings

Effectiveness ratings are provided for broad categories and more specific subcategories that touch on operational (information technology), instructional, environmental, and attitudinal components of our learning environment.  

Trends and Comparisons

This is the fourth year that the district has implemented this survey, which allows us to compare numbers and effectiveness ratings from year to year.  Further, the data is available at district, building, and grade levels, allowing for more focused analysis.  

As a tool that’s made available statewide, many districts in Iowa (and throughout the nation) make use of the Clarity survey.  This allows us to compare our results with regional (AEA), state, and national averages, providing important context beyond our own trends and intra-district comparisons.  

Reporting and Action Steps

In addition to providing the district with the survey results, BrightBytes also provides access to roughly 30 reports, ranging from a broad overview of the survey results to reports focused on very specific aspects of the survey.  These reports are fairly easy to read and generally concise, and provide us with the ability to get important information to the school board and the public with a minimal investment of staff time.  

Further, BrightBytes provides suggested research-based action steps based upon the district’s survey results.  While we certainly do not implement all of the action steps, or follow them verbatim, BrightBytes also links directly to relevant research, allowing us to investigate the basis for the recommendations with – again – a relatively low time investment.  


Our participation rates have historically been fairly high, and we’ve had few problems meeting the minimum criteria for statistical significance.  That said, the power of these surveys correlates directly to the participation rate, and we shoot for as high a participation rate as possible.  Make sure to check your email for the survey participation link, and please participate if you are able.  

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