Texas educators have an important opportunity to tell district- and state-level school leaders if they have the tools needed to do their jobs in the first statewide TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Texas survey April 7-June 6, 2014. (TEA recently extended the TELL Texas Survey window to June 6.)

The anonymous online survey of Texas teachers, principals, counselors and other school-based professional staff is required by a 2013 state law. TCTA worked diligently to get the survey provision into the law because it creates a much-needed vehicle for Texas teachers to share their concerns about the teaching and learning conditions in Texas schools. We strongly encourage TCTA members — and all Texas educators — to fully participate.

Survey access, anonymity

The survey is completely voluntary (for individual educators, not entire campuses), confidential and anonymous. Educators can access the online survey using a unique access code that was sent to each school. The access codes ensure that each educator takes the survey only once and that TEA can correctly identify each school. The code CANNOT be used to identify you as an individual.

The access code letters began arriving at schools, addressed to principals, the week of March 31. The law requires the commissioner to administer the survey to all licensed educators, so it was TEA's expectation that principals, as agents of TEA, distribute the access codes to all licensed professional educators in their schools in a timely manner (ideally by May 1).

The survey period began April 7. Once educators have access codes, they may take the survey anytime by June 6 at telltexas.org. Just click on the "Take The Survey!" button.

Educators who have not received access codes or misplaced their letters may request access codes by contacting the Help Desk at telltexas.org by clicking on the "Need Help" button at the top of the telltexas.org homepage. Educators who do this may do so anonymously, providing only their district and school so that they can be given the appropriate access code. Any educator at a campus can request a packet of codes for all the educators at that school.

What's on the survey

The survey, which takes 20-30 minutes to complete, asks questions about teaching conditions that have been shown to be important to student achievement and teacher retention, such as:

  • instructional practices and support
  • time
  • school and teacher leadership
  • facilities and resources
  • community engagement
  • professional development
  • managing student conduct
  • new teacher support

How survey results must be used

Results from the TELL Texas Survey will be aggregated and reported approximately five weeks after the close of the survey. The law requires that the commissioner of education make the survey results available to the public and provide them to school districts and campuses.

Only survey results for campuses that have at least a 50 percent response rate and minimum of five educators responding will be made public, so it's important that all educators participate.

The law requires that each district and campus use the survey results to review and revise, as appropriate, district- or campus-level improvement plans, and for other purposes to enhance the district and campus learning environment. The commissioner must use the survey results to develop, review and revise TEA professional development offerings, agency initiatives aimed at teacher retention, and standards for principals and superintendents.

The survey is administered, as required by law, by a third-party entity: the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force that has conducted similar surveys in other states.

Learn more at telltexas.org.