YouthTruth is a national survey project that gathers actionable feedback from students. Developed in partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008, YouthTruth offers schools, districts/networks, and funders the opportunity to gather valuable, actionable feedback from high school students about the strengths and weaknesses of their schools and introduces a powerful mechanism for helping assess whether reforms are achieving their intended impact.
YouthTruth has three distinctive attributes that set it apart from most other survey efforts:
- Provides detailed comparative data. YouthTruth provides rich comparative data in a user-friendly format. Participating schools’ results are compared to those of peer schools in their district, and schools that make up the national YouthTruth sample. This comparison shows each school’s relative strengths and weaknesses, and facilitates comparisons across networks.
- Engages school leaders and students. Not only does YouthTruth confidentially share each school’s results with its leadership team, we also provide a summary of results specifically designed to share with students. By closing the feedback loop with participants, YouthTruth gathers more honest and accurate data.
- Generates actionable feedback that drives change. YouthTruth has helped spur policy and programmatic changes across participating schools in the areas of student engagement, academic rigor, school culture, student-teacher relationships, and college and career readiness.
Over the past 4 years, we have rapidly grown YouthTruth. As of the end of 2012-2013 school year, YouthTruth has surveyed more than 200,000 students from 275 schools across 35 districts and networks nationwide.
According to a 2010 third-party evaluation of the project by Brandeis University, among school leaders who had participated in YouthTruth:
- 91% agreed that YouthTruth was better than most other survey efforts at their school;
- 98% have already used or plan to use YouthTruth data to make specific changes in their school; and
- 100% would recommend that other schools participate in YouthTruth.
Visit the YouthTruth site to learn more.
Dr. Brennon Sapp, Principal of Scott High School in Taylor Mill, KY, discusses how he used student feedback from the YouthTruth survey to build relationships and shift the culture of his school:
If you are a grantmaker interested in joining YouthTruth, contact Marny Sumrall
to learn more.