HSSSE: As Important As It Is Unpronounceable

What do high school students love more than taking a good, lengthy, informative online survey? Nothing!

hsseIn my experience, going to football games, watching endless hours of Netflix, and taking long walks on the beach pale in comparison to the prospect of spending the better half of my English class at a computer, answering school-related questions and clicking on whatever enticing little box condenses my overly impassioned answer into one word, such as “no” or “sometimes.”

Unfortunately, not every student at St. Luke’s shares my ardent enthusiasm for the art of “survey-taking.”  Thus, when the school announced we would be taking the HSSSE [High School Survey of Student Engagement], the news was greeted with disappointing apathy. However, when asking the opinions of SLS students after taking the survey, I found a few silver linings behind this gargantuan thundercloud.

The first positive outcome to emerge from this potentially fruitless journey into the realm of academic surveys was the amusing nature of potential responses to the questions posed.  When asked why they attend school, for instance, students could chose from among the following answers: “to stay out of trouble,” “because there is nothing better to do,” or (my personal favorite) “it gets me out of the house.”

A point that I found to be particularly entertaining was that the maximum response to the question “How many hours a week do you spend doing homework” was “eight hours.” Eight. Hours. In. One. Week. Try eight hours on a Saturday night!  Can I get a second on that from any other juniors?

Another benefit of taking the survey was the opportunity it provided for students to take a field trip and venture out of their English classrooms, albeit just down a few flights of stairs and hallways. While it did not generate the same adrenaline rush as the fifth-grade trip to Mystic Seaport or the Pequot Museum, the change of scenery was still well received.

On a more serious note, it was actually interesting that the school chose to take part in this survey.  Despite the fact that some questions were vague or just non-applicable, the very fact that student body was given the chance to answer them seemed to express a genuine concern by administrators to understand the divergent attitudes of high school students across the country towards their schools.  On the other hand, there appears to be an overwhelming assumption among the students that little can, or will, be done to address any concerns they expressed in the survey.

So all in all, the HSSSE was not a complete waste of an English double.  While some may take a cynical approach to the potential ineffectiveness of the survey, I like to look on the bright side.  After all, we did get to go and sit in (or play on) the swivel chairs of the computer labs for half an hour. Most importantly, it’s comforting to know that while you are working hard, spending your “eight hours a week” on homework, the school will actively take measures to try to improve your overall wellbeing and happiness in high school.

— Melanie Bow, School News Editor

Posted by on April 18, 2013. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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