Methods: The study consisted of two-parts; first, a quantitative online survey was sent to school leadership staff in Illinois who were employed at schools eligible to participate in the IYS. Participants were recruited from both participating and non-participating schools from a database of school personnel that had previous contact with the IYS survey administration team. 266 staff who received the initial email participated in the online survey. The anonymous online survey included a link at the end for participants to sign-up for a more in-depth qualitative interview (part 2 of the study). Approximately, 30 participants participated in the qualitative interview.
Results: The majority of participants responded that they first heard about the IYS from an agency in their community (25%), district personnel (22%), or the survey contractor (16%). 207 (73%) participants were employed at a school that participated in the IYS in 2018. Schools who participated in the IYS listed free/no cost (45%) and receiving a report with school-level data (41.5%) as “very important” reasons to have their school participate. Barriers to participating that were rated as “very important” included class time to take the survey (22%), competing priorities (22%), and insufficient staff time to administer the survey (9%).
Conclusions: Survey participation and the availability of quality trend data is contingent upon the buy-in of school administrators. The data collected across the state from the IYS provides a valuable resource for researchers, practitioners, and school personnel. The results of this study provide insight into the motivations for participating in a voluntary survey when there are many competing interests.