Office of Planning and Research

Views of Climate and Learning (VOCAL) Survey Project, 2019


VOCAL is an annual survey sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It was administered to students in grade 4, grade 5, grade 8, and grade 10. In 2019, participating students are asked to share their views on three dimensions and nine topics of school climate:

Cultural competence
  • The extent students feel adults/students value diversity, manage dynamics of differences, and avoid stereotypes.
Emotional safety
  • The extent students feel a bond to the school, and the extent adults/students support the emotional needs of students.
Instructional environment
  • The extent that students feel the instructional environment is collaborative, relevant, challenging and supportive of learning.
  • The extent students feel there is a social connection and respect between staff/teachers and students, and between students and their peers.
Physical safety
  • The extent that students feel physically safe within the school environment.
Mental health environment
  • The extent that students have access to systems support that effectively support their social, emotional and mental health well-being.
  • The extent students feel engaged intellectually, emotionally, and behaviorally in the classroom, and the extent that students or their parents are engaged in school life.
  • The extent that students report different types of bullying behaviors occurring in the school and the extent that school/staff/students try to counteract bullying.
Discipline environment
  • The extent that discipline is fair, applied consistently and evenly, and a shared responsibility among staff, teachers, and students.

2019 VOCAL Survey Findings

Student Engagement Webinar

This PowerPoint presents the results from a research study related to student engagement. It provides an overview of the VOCAL survey, descriptive results related to student engagement, and identifies factors that appear to promote or inhibit student engagement in Massachusetts. Notes pages are included.
Download PowerPoint Presentation
Student Engagement Webinar

Executive Summary and Descriptive Reports

Executive Summary

Download Word Document
Massachusetts 2019 Executive Summary

Descriptive Reports

Download Excel Document
2019 State Report
2019 Validity report addendum — coming soon

2019 VOCAL Sample Report and Guidance Materials

The sample report replicates the data and format provided to districts and schools, respectively. Schools and districts are also provided with the guidance materials and resources posted on this webpage.

Sample Reports

Download Excel Document
School sample report

FAQ and Guidance Materials


  • Provides answers to frequently asked questions

Grade-level school profiles

Description of a relatively strong, typical, and relatively weak school climate in Massachusetts within:

Download Word Document
Grade 4
Download Word Document
Grade 5
Download Word Document
Grade 8
Download Word Document
Grade 10

User Guide Download Word Document

  • Information and guidance on the different types of VOCAL scores and their appropriate use.

Interpretive Guide and Action Planning Resource for Schools Download Word Document

  • How to analyze and interpret VOCAL school climate data using the school sample report data as an exemplar (a completed and a blank template are provided)

  • Action Planning template for schools to set goals/priorities related to school climate (a completed and a blank template are provided)

VOCAL Item Crosswalk Download Excel Document

  • Connecting VOCAL school climate survey items to three complementary frameworks for building safe and supportive schools:
    • Social and emotional competencies based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning's (CASEL) framework (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making)
    • Accessible Instruction principles, and
    • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework

2019 Survey Content

The surveys administered in 2019 can be viewed below:

Download Word Document
Grade 4
Download Word Document
Grade 5
Download Word Document
Grade 8
Download Word Document
Grade 10

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.