Key Questions

1.  Do the 22 measures on the 5Essentials Survey remain predictive of school improvement and student outcomes?


The 5Essentials Survey is one of the few validated instruments to measure school climate. Schools that are strong in at least three of the five essential supports are up to 10 times more likely to experience substantial gains in students’ math and reading scores. More than 6,000 schools nationwide have administered the 5Essentials Survey.  Due to changes in education, including an increased emphasis on accountability policy and the role of the 5Essentials data in accountability, it is time to re-examine the validity of the 5Essentials in predicting school improvement and student outcomes.

This study adds an important additional outcome for elementary schools—students’ GPAs—and, even more importantly, also assesses the validity of the 5Essentials Survey in high schools. The high school analyses encompass a range of outcomes: test scores, attendance, GPAs, Freshman OnTrack rates, and college enrollment.

Key Findings

  • 5Essentials Survey measures continue to be predictive of school improvement in elementary schools, and are also predictive in high schools. Of the 22 survey measures, all were in some way positively and significantly associated with schools’ improvement. At the same time, all measures were not associated with all outcomes.
  • Both 1) starting out the year with strength in 5Essentials Survey measures and 2) improving on measures during the course of the year predicted improved student outcomes in schools.
  • The 5Essentials Survey measures were positively and significantly related to growth in elementary test scores and attendance.
  • Elementary GPA also improved more in schools with strong 5Essentials Survey measures.
  • High school outcomes—attendance, test scores, GPA, Freshman OnTrack, and college enrollment—were positively and significantly related to 5Essentials Survey measures.
  • 5Essentials Survey measures predicted improvement for schools that were strong compared to other schools, but also for schools compared to themselves in stronger vs. weaker years.