Potsdam Institute for Applied Research
(PIAR) at SUNY Potsdam

Office of Special Education
The State Education Dept./The University of the State of New York/Albany, NY 12234

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What is State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 8 – Parental Involvement Surveys?
Why does our district have to ask parents to fill out this survey?
What is the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research?
How do I contact the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (PIAR)?
How do school districts get copies of the paper survey?
How long do I have to distribute the surveys and when must the surveys be returned?
Should I distribute a cover letter with the paper survey?
Where do I find a copy of a sample letter?
To whom are the surveys returned?
How many surveys have to be returned?
What is my district’s minimum number of required surveys?
Why do I have a minimum required number of surveys?
How many surveys should I order?
I have heard that the number of surveys I need to return is based upon the number of surveys I order. Is this true?
Which of my families should get a survey?
What happens if our district does not return the minimum required number of surveys?
What is the best strategy for completing this project?
How do I keep track of the number of surveys being returned from my district?
Can parents complete the survey on the Internet?
Where can I find the survey on the Internet?
How do parents log in to the survey on the Internet?
When does our district get the results from the survey responses?

What is State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 8 – Parental Involvement Surveys?

New York State must report to the U.S. Department of Education each year on a number of measures to be in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). SPP Indicator 8 is the measure of the “Percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities.”

Why does our district have to ask parents to fill out this survey?

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires school districts to coordinate the collection of data for SPP Indicator 8. This Indicator is required only once every six years, unless the NYSED requires re-submission as a result of lack of responses to the survey in a previous year.

What is the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research?

The Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (PIAR) is a research institute located at SUNY Potsdam which has a contract with the New York State Education Department to coordinate survey distribution and collection, complete data analysis and reporting, and provide technical assistance to school districts as they work to complete Indicator 8.

How do I contact the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (PIAR)?

PIAR can be contacted by e-mail at parentsurvey@potsdam.edu or by telephone at 315-267-3466 or 888-419-2698 (toll free).

How do school districts get copies of the paper survey?

Copies of the paper survey and return envelopes are obtained from the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research (PIAR) through the website http://parentsurvey.potsdam.edu

How long do I have to distribute the surveys and when must the surveys be returned?

The surveys may be distributed between September 1st and August 31st of the year in which a school district is required to report on Indicator 8. Surveys must be postmarked by August 31st of the reporting year.

Should I distribute a cover letter with the paper survey?

It is recommended that school districts provide a cover letter to parents selected to complete the parent surveys. The New York State Education Department provides an example of a sample letter to parents at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/spp/ltrsample-parent.htm

Where do I find a copy of a sample letter?

The New York State Education Department provides an example of a sample letter to parents at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/spp/ltrsample-parent.htm

To whom are the surveys returned?

The surveys are returned to the Potsdam Institute for Applied Research at SUNY Potsdam. Each survey distributed should be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

How many surveys have to be returned?

The number of surveys to be returned depends on the number of students with disabilities, age 3-21, in each school district. The New York State Education Department calculates the number of surveys to be returned.

What is my district’s minimum number of required surveys?

The school district’s minimum number of required surveys is the number of surveys which must be returned to meet the school district’s target for Indicator 8. When you check the Response Rate link on the Parent Survey website, the district’s “goal” is the required number of surveys as calculated by the New York State Education Department. An approximation of the number of required surveys may be obtained by using the Calculator to Determine Sample Size found at https://eservices.nysed.gov/pdsystem/samplesizecalculator.jsp

Why do I have a minimum required number of surveys?

The New York State Performance Plan requires a statistically sound survey return rate from school districts. A required minimum number of surveys are needed to have confidence that the responses are representative of the families in a school district.

How many surveys should I order?

The State Education Department asks school districts to either distribute the survey to all families of students with disabilities in the school district or to 10 times the number of families from whom responses were needed in order to have the minimum sample of responses. For example, if the minimum required number of surveys is 68, you would distribute to 680 families. However, if your target is 68, you do not have 680 families of students with disabilities, so a survey should be distributed to every family. Practically speaking, unless you have more than 900 families in your district, you should order as many surveys as you have families. If you have more than 900 families, you should order 900-1,000 surveys and plan to randomly sample your list of families.

I have heard that the number of surveys I need to return is based upon the number of surveys I order. Is this true?

This is NOT true. The number of surveys to be returned depends on the number of students with disabilities, age 3-21, in each school district.

Which of my families should get a survey?

The State Education Department asks school districts to either distribute the survey to all families of students with disabilities in the school district or to 10 times the number of families from whom responses were needed in order to have the minimum sample of responses. Practically speaking, if you have fewer than 900 families in your district, plan to ask each of your families to complete a survey. If you randomly sample your list of families because you have more than 900 families, you should distribute surveys to all of the families in your sample.

What happens if our district does not return the minimum required number of surveys?

The New York State Education Department will review the data from school districts not returning the minimum number of required responses and may reassign these school districts to conduct the survey again in a subsequent school year to improve their response rates and ensure there are valid results on this Indicator.

What is the best strategy for completing this project?

The best strategy for successfully completing this project will vary for each school district. The New York State Education Department recommends that a variety of strategies be used to insure success. For all strategies, insuring that parent responses are confidential should be a priority. Strategies include distributing at school meetings, such as open houses, conferences, and CSE and CPSE annual meetings; enlisting the assistance of parent advocates, such as the Special Education Parent Centers; providing a reader to assist literacy challenged parents; providing a computer in a confidential setting to allow parents to complete the survey online; providing translators if the survey is not available in the language of the parent; and distributing the survey by mail. One word of caution: If your district has fewer than 500 families, it may be difficult to achieve the required minimum number of survey returns if you use only the mass mail strategy.

How do I keep track of the number of surveys being returned from my district?

Go to the “Check Response Rates” link at http://parentsurvey.potsdam.edu Enter the first 6 digits of your school district’s BEDS code to review the number of surveys ordered, the target for your school district and the number of surveys which have been returned.

Can parents complete the survey on the Internet?

Parents can complete the survey on the Internet by going to http://parentsurvey.potsdam.edu and selecting the “Online Survey” link.

Where can I find the survey on the Internet?

The survey can be found on the Internet by going to http://parentsurvey.potsdam.edu and selecting the “Online Survey” link.

How do parents log in to the survey on the Internet?

To log into the “Online Survey”, parents should enter the 6 digit number located at the bottom of the paper survey received from the school district.

When does our district get the results from the survey responses?

Results from the survey responses will be provided to school districts in the Spring of the year following data collection. For example, if surveys were distributed during the 2009-2010 school year, reports will be sent in the Spring of 2011.




Potsdam Institute For Applied Research
J. Patrick Turbett, Director
44 Pierrepont Ave.
Potsdam NY 13676
Phone: (888) 419-2698
Email: parentsurvey@potsdam.edu