Graduate Follow-Up Surveys

Posted on Categories Accountability & Data Use, Recruitment and Retention

At a Glance

York County School of Technology (York Tech) increased the response rate to the CTC student follow-up survey by switching from an online survey to a phone survey.


In order to improve the response rate and collect more extensive data, York Tech Assistant Director Scott Rogers decided to take a new approach to conducting the CTC student follow-up survey of recent graduates, which is required by BCTE. Rather than administering the survey online and sending out reminder mailings to graduates, York Tech now administers the survey over the phone using a standardized protocol.

During Winter Break in December, the School to Career Center Assistant calls every graduate and uses a survey script. The script provides consistency and also addresses various scenarios that could develop during the phone survey. An “Alumni Survey Procedure” protocol defines every piece of data, procedure, record, and scenario that could develop and prescribes actions and responses.

When a graduate is reached, the School to Career Center Assistant makes a friendly and focused connection and then asks the survey questions. The graduate is not burdened with going online to complete the survey. If voice mail is reached, then a prescribed message is left instructing participants to call the alumni hotline.

After the survey is completed, a detailed recording and analysis procedure is followed to produce reports. Reports are disseminated to the director, the assistant director, principals, counselors, and CTE instructors. The graduate data can be used to inform decision making at all levels. BCTE is provided with the graduate follow-up data they need for Perkins reporting. 

Origin / Implementation

In 2014, Assistant Director Rogers decided to revamp the method of administering the survey in an effort to increase the response rate and the efficiency of completing the survey project. Prior to implementing the phone survey, response rates to the online survey were consistently low. In 2012, only nine out of 276 graduates completed the survey. Furthermore, because the CTC is required to send up to three mailings requesting that graduates go online and complete the survey, the survey process proved time and resource intensive and yet it did not yield satisfactory results.

The administration also decided to revise the survey system because, in addition to BCTE compliance, they wanted viable data that could be used to demonstrate that graduates, who stay in and are employed in York County, provide direct economic payback that justifies the cost of their attendance at the regional comprehensive CTE high school that serves grades 9-12. To this end, York Tech administrators wanted to gather data on the number of graduates who graduate college, not just the number who enter college (a typical number focused on in post-graduate surveys). Furthermore, they wanted to know if the college graduates return to York County or settle elsewhere so that they could provide evidence that CTE training leads to related employment within York County. They wanted to show that investments in York County School of Technology students provide substantial paybacks to growing the York economy.

Results / Impact

In 2014, the response rate to the phone survey jumped to 51 percent, compared to the three percent response rate to the 2012 mail survey. Out of 315 phone contacts, 159 graduates completed the survey.

Of the 159 graduates who completed the survey, 88 percent reside in York County. Thirty-nine percent are pursuing post-secondary education and 74 percent are employed, full or part-time.


York County School of Technology
Scott Rogers, Assistant Director

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