Research News

2020 Tennessee Educator Survey launches statewide 

Results to inform K-12 school leaders and policymakers

The Tennessee Education Research Alliance, a research-practice partnership between Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Department of Education, has released the 2020 Tennessee Educator Survey to all teachers, administrators and certified staff across the state. In its ninth year of implementation, the confidential and voluntary survey aims to hear directly from educators and further understand their perspective to guide strategies and goals at the state, district and local school levels.

This year’s survey, open Feb. 25–April 10, asks for educator opinions on school climate, evaluations, state initiatives, instructional practice and professional learning. The 2020 survey will also include new topics like whole child supports, teacher pay, mobility and instructional materials. This week, all Tennessee educators will receive an email with a link to the survey. Similar to years prior, survey results will be shared in June with districts and schools that meet or exceed a 45 percent response rate. The results for those who meet the minimum participation threshold will be released publicly via the Tennessee Educator Survey website in August.

“The Tennessee Educator Survey is a critical touch point we have each year with educators from all across the state, and the department values and seriously considers this important feedback,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Last year, I read all 25,539 responses, and some of the common challenges that our teachers shared – from spending hours sourcing instructional materials to grappling with the increased mental health needs of their students – became top priorities in the department’s Best for All strategic plan. If we are to be successful in supporting our educators and excellence in every classroom, we need to hear from our teachers, and we deeply appreciate every educator who takes the time to complete the survey and share their input.”

In 2019, more than 45,000 educators responded to the survey, or about 62 percent of educators in the state. Past surveys have helped identify funding needs such as educator salaries, instructional materials and RTI2. Survey responses have also led to the development of unit starters for elementary ELA teachers and influenced the department’s counseling standards and training.

“The Educator Survey is a critical tool that gives teachers a voice in the work that researchers do here at Vanderbilt,” said Erin O’Hara, executive director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance. “It helps us independently evaluate what policies are working and what changes could be made in Tennessee’s education system.”

For more information and to read survey snapshots from previous Tennessee Educator Surveys, visit the Tennessee Education Research Alliance survey webpage.

Tennessee Education Research Alliance

The Tennessee Education Research Alliance is a research partnership between Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development and the Tennessee Department of Education, whose mission is to inform Tennessee’s school improvement efforts with data from useful, timely and high-quality research.