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Sometimes Even Bad Things Are Good To Know

From an organization's point of view, a good survey is a wonderful thing. I don't just mean surveys that tell you good things are wonderful, but that any survey that gives you solid data can be a useful tool for getting a member's eye view of how you are doing and what you could be doing better.

In May we finished the first CSTA Member Satisfaction Survey. This survey was designed to provide very detailed information. We asked our members to rate every benefit and service CSTA provides and to tell us what other benefits would be of value to them.

As soon as they were available, I looked at the quantitative results and they were most informative. It has only been in the last week, however, that I have had time to delve into the qualitative results and they are a virtual diamond mine of new insights.

Here are some of the good things that I learned:

  • Our members are making surprisingly extensive use of the ACM Model Curriculum. They are using it to build, revise, and evaluate state level, district level, and school level computer science curricula. They are using it to convince administrators and principles about the importance of supporting K-12 computer science programs. They are using it to support their own research. They are using it to evaluate their own teacher certification requirements.
  • Our members are very glad that CSTA exists and are making increasing use of the resources we are providing (when they have the time!).
  • Educators at all levels of the educational system belong to and support CSTA and K-12 computer science education.
  • Far more researchers than we expected are using our research data to either support or inspire their own research efforts.

Here are some of the valuable things we learned about doing better.

  • The Welcome to CSTA email we send out to our members to let them know about their benefits is not reaching all members. We suspect that firewalls and filters are to blame, but we need to find a more effective way to get this information to folks.
  • We need to provide some kind of facility that lets interested members get breaking information from CSTA and to interact more effectively as a community without filling up people's spam folders.

These are important issues that the CSTA Board is now looking at thanks to the folks who completed our first Member Satisfaction Survey. Thank you for your input and insight. Thank you for continuing to support CSTA.

Chris Stephenson
Executive Director

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