Frequently Asked Questions

What is Partners in Learning School Research (PILSR)?

PILSR is a free, online tool that provides surveys and reports that help educators and school leaders understand and measure innovative teaching practices that develop students’ 21st Century skills. Launched in January 2011, the PILSR system has been used by schools from over 45 countries. It is based on globally-recognized Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research. For any schools located in participating countries, the PILSR service is offered at no cost. Currently the system is designed for primary and secondary schools.

Is the PILSR tool just a trim-downed version of the ITL Research?

PILSR is based on the concepts and surveys from the ITL Research, which can be administered at the school level quickly, easily, and for no cost to schools. PILSR provides a way to easily scale the in-depth, global ITL Research while directly supporting more advanced pedagogies and the effective use of ICT by teachers in many countries.

What are the key benefits of Microsoft Partners in Learning School Research (PILSR)?

The PILSR tool provides school leaders and educators with FREE survey tools and FREE reports of the survey data from each school with tangible results.
The survey tools provide an easy, automated system that requires minimal time commitment. Results are based on educators’ self-report of their teaching practices. All responses are confidential and anonymous. Repeat surveys are conducted to monitor progress on innovative teaching practices. The reports of the survey data from each school can be used by the school community to reflect on more innovative teaching/learning practices. They also provide a common framework for professional development and collaboration. Concrete examples of innovative lessons can be used to develop students’ future skills.

How does the Partners in Learning School Research tool work?

A teacher or school leader from your school signs into the Partners in Learning Network and sets up the survey for your school. Educators and school leaders take the surveys. Results are automatically analyzed by the PILSR system and a report is generated. Reports provide school-specific data that measures the elements of innovative teaching practices, compares educator and school leader responses, and provides examples of innovative teaching practices.

How can PILSR help measure my success?

The Partners in Learning School Research tool helps schools understand what education transformation means in practice for them. It helps establish a common vision for innovative teaching and learning while providing the school/community with tangible measures that innovation through sharing the school-specific report results.

Can any school, of any school type, use the PILSR tool?

Yes, this tool is open to any school (public, private, religious) in primary or secondary education. The only constraint is that the tool is online and teachers and school leaders must be able to take the surveys online. They can access the surveys from home or public computers.

What are the system requirements for conducting the research and taking the surveys?

Members of the school must use one of the following supported browsers:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 or later
  • Latest version of Mozilla Firefox
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Is the school level data secure and who has access to it?

Yes, the school data is secure. All survey answers are kept confidential. The report that is generated is only viewable by members of the school who are registered and signed in to the Partners in Learning Network.

Who can sign up a school for the surveys?

Any school leader or educator in a school can sign up and register their school to conduct the research. This individual must be a member of the Partners in Learning Network.

How many research leaders can be assigned to help conduct the research?

A school can assign one primary research leader to set up the research for their school, and up to four additional research leaders to help manage the research in the school. The primary research leader can be a school leader or an educator. All research leaders must be members of the Partners in Learning Network.

Can a school re-assign research leaders during the research?

Yes, the primary research leader can add or remove alternate research leaders during the survey window. All alternate research leaders must be a member of the Partners in Learning Network.

Can multiple people register the same school?

No, only one person may register the school for the school research program.

Can a school change the settings for the school research after they have set up the surveys?

Once the survey window open, a research leader may only change the survey end date.

Can a school conduct the surveys more than one time?

Yes. A school can run the surveys each year to assess their change; or more frequently if they like.

Who should participate in the survey?

We recommend sending the Educator Survey invitation to all the educators at the school, and sending the School Leader Survey invitation to all the school leaders at the school for the most relevant results. There should be fewer responses to the school leader survey in most schools.

How can educators and school leaders access the surveys?

Educators and school leaders will receive an email from the research leader with a link to the survey. They must first join the Partners in Learning Network before participating in the survey.

If an individual starts the survey, can they save their responses and continue the survey later?

Yes, they can save their answers at any point during the survey. When they return to the survey, they will continue where they left off.

Can the research leader extend the close date of the surveys if their school does not receive enough responses within the timeframe they allocated

Yes. The research leader can extend the close date, up to 24 hours before the current close date.

When will the school report be available?

The report will be available for the research leaders within 24 hours after the surveys end.

Can a school compare their scores to another school’s scores?

At this time, a school can only do a comparison of results from their own school based on survey results from one year to the next.

When will the research leader receive the reminder for the following year?

The Research Leader will receive a reminder 10 months after the research ends.

What kinds of data and reports can education leaders have (national or regional policy makers, system administrators)?

Many ministries of education have expressed interest in the survey data. The tool is fundamentally designed to help individual schools understand and measure innovative teaching. If entities want to use the PILSR research surveys for their own formal assessments, we are happy to share the methods and our analysis techniques, but we do not conduct formal assessment for education systems.