Phillips Academy Researches Parents’ and Alumni’s Perceptions of the School

In order to evaluate Andover’s communications system further, Andover began institutional research. In June 2005, almost 40% of Andover parents took part in a survey about school-parent communication and other aspects of the school. The survey evaluated residential programs, college counseling, communication with parents and other relevant issues. Respondents reacted positively to Phillips Academy. Ninety-five percent of parents surveyed would suggest Andover to other families. Based on the research gathered in the parent survey, Andover has already developed and implemented new Lower PACE seminars. With respect to college counseling, which was more negatively received in the survey than other aspects of the school, survey results noted the recent creation of a college counseling kick-off weekend for parents of Uppers in the Spring Term. This was created to involve parents more in the college search process. In the future, the school hopes to evaluate other areas of the school. Jane Fried, Dean of Admission and Assistant Head for Enrollment/Research & Planning, wrote in an email, “The school is very interested in developing a better understanding of the ‘Andover experience.’ Creating a longitudinal study to look at students’ experiences at Andover, college and beyond is our goal.” The school hopes to evaluate the merit of an Andover education. Difficulties in developing research techniques have revolved around the fluidity of an Andover education. Fried wrote, “…there is no ONE way to go through the Andover curriculum and, as we all know, learning takes place both in and out of the classroom, on and off campus.” Fried also plans to evaluate an Andover education through research with students who have already graduated from Andover for more varied and accurate results. No additional formal research has begun. Fried wrote, “…measuring the outcomes of an Andover education is not a simple task…our students come from many different backgrounds and have many different interests …We are at the very beginning of this process. The goal this year is to frame the questions for research.”