Student success is a priority at the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). Students are successful when they know they have safe, caring and inclusive spaces to learn and grow. Just like school boards across the province, the WRDSB seeks feedback from students about their experiences in school. In fact, the Ministry of Education requires all boards to conduct voluntary school climate surveys. The results from the surveys help to provide insight into students’ views as well as a gauge of the existing culture within schools.

The Safe, Caring and Inclusive Schools Survey (SCIS) uses the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) to learn more about school climate, in particular how students feel about their school experience.

Understanding the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI)

The MDI is a tool designed to gain insights from students about the well-being and healthy growth of children in Grades 4 and up. Research shows that an increase in student well-being is often directly related to improvements in four areas: Adult relationships, Peer relationships, Nutrition and sleep, and After-school activities. The MDI focuses on those areas to determine what is working well, and where work needs to be done to improve a student’s environment.

The MDI is used to measure trends at a population level, such as a school or district, not an individual assessment. The results for each school are reviewed independently, and not compared, as each school community operates with its own unique sets of strengths and challenges. District level results are also reviewed.

In fall of 2022, over 26,000 WRDSB students completed the MDI. The WRDSB has started to analyse the results. We will develop resources that support school engagement, positive learning experiences, promote academic success and implement board wide initiatives.

The results of the survey will be shared later this year.

“The Middle Years Development Instrument provides insightful information about students’ health and well-being directly from students. We then use this information to determine the next best steps to support students. Analysis has begun on the feedback from students from the fall. The results will allow schools and the district to reflect on whether current practices need to be changed to more effectively support students, in order to provide an educational environment where students will flourish.”
– Dana Liebermann, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Research and Evidence-Based Practice Department, WRDSB