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CHoosing And Maintaining Effective Programs for Sex Education in Schools

Parent Poll

CHAMPSS Toolbox > Assess > Parent Poll

What is the purpose of this tool?

This template can be a useful tool in assessing parental support for sexual health education. Data obtained from polling results can be used during the decision-making process when selecting a program and can also be used to show the level of parental support for sexual health education when seeking board approval.

Who should use the tool?

SHAC members, district coordinators, curriculum coordinators, and school leaders can administer the Parent Poll to gauge parental support for sexual health education.

What else do I need to know before parents complete the Parent Poll?

It is important to poll a representative sample of the parents in your district. Biased results affect the validity of the data and can occur depending on: whom you choose to survey, how, when, & where the survey is conducted, and what is asked within the survey. Sampling bias can occur when the group being surveyed differs from, and is not representative of, the target population. Below are brief descriptions of often-used sampling methods:

Random sample: A sample in which each individual in the target population has an equal probability of being selected

Convenience sample: Selecting a sample based on people from the target population most likely to respond

Population sample: A sample that includes the entire target population


See Polling Methods in Table 1 below for a comparison of different survey methods that can be used for polling depending on resources available in your community.

parent poll table 1

How long will it take?

Paper surveys may take up to 10 minutes to complete—other methods (e.g., phone, internet, or sending the survey home with students) will vary. It is important to consider what type of preparation will be needed for survey administration. For example, some things that may need to be done include: setting a date for survey administration, identifying who will administer the survey, making survey copies (if necessary), and purchasing additional materials—envelopes, pencils, etc.

What happens after poll results are collected?

Results should be entered into a spreadsheet or database to be analyzed. Depending on the complexity and volume of data collected, it may be useful to seek help in setting up the data entry approach and analyzing results. For example, there may be a research office or department within the school district available to assist with data analysis. A simple way to analyze results is by calculating the frequency or percentage of parents who agreed or disagreed with items in the survey. Results can be presented to key stakeholders such as school board members, SHAC members, and superintendents. Below are a few examples of possible ways to present results from a 2011 survey conducted with parents of school-aged children in Harris County[1].

parent poll examples

[1]Tortolero, S.R., Johnson, K., Peskin, M., Cuccaro, P.M., Markham, C., Hernandez, B.F., … Li, D.H. (2011) Dispelling the Myth: What Parents Really Think about Sex Education in Schools. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk, 2(2), Art. 5.

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