Jeff Hoskins is a Data Formatting Specialist who provides customized data collection and reporting services internally (approximately 350 employees) and for the 23 school districts his organization serves in Eastern Iowa. Services provided include school improvement, school and community planning, curriculum support, data network technology support, staff development, K-12 lending libraries, driver education, student programs, a professional library, a curriculum laboratory, video production and duplication, and special education services which includes educational consultants, early childhood, visually impaired, school psychologists, school social workers, speech language pathologists, transition, work experience, and more. They also facilitate the development of district leadership, district service plans, and an accountability system, as well as identify, obtain and administer funding for educational research and service activities. Jeff has been using Remark Office OMR and Remark Web Survey since 2002 to help him in these various tasks, which range from quick follow-up surveys from team meetings to community-wide needs assessments. When Jeff came on board in 1999, another staff member had been doing paper surveys at that time using 10 year old scanning software that was not very user friendly. Jeff researched several paper and online survey software options for affordability and ease of use and, “Remark became the obvious choice.”

Aside from the quick follow-up surveys and community-wide needs assessments, Jeff is able to use Remark for conference and course evaluations, surveys of teachers regarding the climate in their schools, district-wide student assessments, student intervention assessments, bullying surveys, graduate follow-up surveys, parent input surveys, bus driver evaluations, local community college assessment of high school courses, mentor and coaching surveys, kindergarten readiness surveys, freshman and senior surveys, just to name a few.

Over the last few years there has been a concerted effort towards bullying prevention in their schools, with many of their districts now surveying their students (and sometimes even staff and parents) regularly regarding bullying. At the request of their agency’s Learning Supports team, Jeff worked with them to develop a short online student bullying survey for districts and buildings to assess student knowledge of what bullying is and how to prevent it. Their largest district now gives this survey to students in all 28 of its buildings annually and has received national recognition for their bully prevention efforts.

Twice a year for several years now Jeff has also been surveying every 3rd through 8th grader (over 1,800 children) in one of their districts to assess their knowledge of specific vocabulary words identified as important for them to properly understand the content they are being taught during the school year. The students are assessed at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year. The district asked Jeff to develop four surveys for each grade level – one each for Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Each of the questions is multiple-choice and every survey contains 30 questions, each with a different vocabulary word. Jeff reports the data by building, by teacher, and by individual student. This project was initially done using paper surveys with Remark Office OMR. Because they really wanted the data back within a few days, Jeff convinced them to let him convert the surveys to Remark Web Survey. This not only sped up the turnaround time– usually within 2 days– using Remark Web Survey also enabled the questions to be asked randomly, reducing the temptation for students to cheat on the assessment. Also, using the respondent detection feature Jeff is able to let the district know who has or has not taken the survey at any given time.

What Jeff likes best about Remark Office OMR is that, “I can create a paper survey using Microsoft Word and send it to the print shop right away to be printed on regular paper. We are able to use the resources we already have to get the surveys set up and printed quickly and inexpensively. No special paper or additional software is required. Plus, the OMR software is very user friendly.” What Jeff likes about Remark Web Survey is, “The range of ability it has. I often get calls from people needing a survey within the hour and, because of the software’s ease of use, I am able to do that for them. I also like some of the bells and whistles that come with the survey such as branching, password protection, and pop-up info pages.” In conclusion, Jeff notes, “Overall, I guess I mostly appreciate that Remark gives me the ability to provide the support needed to those who need it from me.” Jeff, we thank you for your support and helping us create products that make others’ lives easier.