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When Teachers Do Not Answer Every Day

3 January 2019

Teacher Tapp is a daily survey, notifying all teachers at 3:30pm of the new questions online, but not every panellist answers their questions every day.

During 2018, the chart below shows that about a quarter of users answered just once in any particular week but a quarter answer every day in a given week. The other half of panellists fall somewhere in between these extremes.

Our most popular days for responses are Thursday, Friday and Sunday – using the app is something teachers are more likely to do when relaxed and without too much (school or house) work to get done!

If you want to surprise people by sharing a tip they haven’t already seen on Teacher Tapp then make sure to log-in on a Saturday, which is our quietest day.

Who becomes a frequent Teacher Tapper?

Nearly all (97%) of the panellists who answer just once in any particular week are established users, rather than those downloading the app to explore it for the first time. The demographic characteristics of those who answer intermittently versus regularly are not so different.

The most consistent respondents are mid-career classroom teachers with significant middle leadership responsibilities. Given these teachers are some of the most time-pressed it’s heartening that they are also the ones who are most thirsty for the knowledge that Teacher Tapp brings.

The consequences of intermittent responses

It does not matter if responses are intermittent when we analyse any particular day’s responses on their own.

However, it can make analysis more complicated where we ask a set of related questions across multiple days, or when we are trying to measure a construct (e.g. disruption during lessons or well-being) over a longer period of time.

Most statistical analysis cannot cope with this type of missing data, so we are taking the following approaches to deal with this:

  • Careful scheduling: We schedule linked questions as close to each other as possible to maximise the chances that a panellist answers them all.
  • Permanently mandatory questions: A small set of demographic questions are mandatory and are scheduled to appear as a 4th question whenever a panellist logs on.
  • Temporarily mandatory questions: We can make an individual question mandatory for a fixed number of days to ensure we get an answer from as many users as possible.
  • Extra questions: We are able to invite a panellist to answer a set of extra questions if they log in at any time via the final app page.
  • Post-survey imputation: If there is limited missing data for an individual, we can perform some imputation using a statistical model which predicts what that individual is likely to have answered. We obviously limit how much we do this (because we don’t like guesstimates, even when they’re based on the best available maths).
  • Analysis on complete cases: We can simply drop any panellists who have not answered all of the relevant questions, but we need to be careful that the complete cases panellists are still representative of everyone. If some groups are more likely than others to miss a day then we could end up excluding a specific demographic, which would affect how representative the data is.

How can we encourage people to answer more often?

In the next few weeks we will be switching on a new feature which will show users how many questions you are answering and your ‘streak’ – i.e. how many days in a row you have logged in.

Once this is working, we will then switch on the ‘badges’ feature which will give stickers and prizes for answering certain types of questions or for certain behaviours (e.g. reading tips).

The aim is to make Teacher Tapp even more enjoyable and shareable. We don’t want to take up masses of your time each day – most users are only on the app for a few minutes – but the research findings are so much better when we have complete data, and we do want to help discover more answers to the hardest questions in education.

So keep an eye out for the new features and let us know what you think! It’s all a work in progress and we love hearing from users.

Email us or use the Feedback button in the app.