The Union recently sent out a "District Climate Survey." I might not be a member, but it showed up in my box and I filled out the bubble sheet. This was a bit of a struggle because although the responses were supposed to be scaled, they didn't follow a traditional Likert format (from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree). Instead, the answer choices went like this:
A. Strongly Agree
B. Tend to Agree
C. Tend to Disagree
D. Strongly Disagree
E. Not applicable/Don't know/Not sure
Do you see the problem? By placing the fence-rider choice at E instead of C, they have likely skewed their results. Most people are trained to use "A" as the strongest agreement and "E" for the strongest disagreement. How many people bubbled in "C" now and then by accident---thinking that they were ambivalent and instead indicated dissatisfaction? Same thing for people who might have mistakenly marked "E" when they really needed "D" for their unhappiness. Even though I read the directions (and assume others did, too), it was still a bit of a struggle to remember this very different order across four pages of questions.
Interestingly enough, The Union did not view itself as part of the climate in which we work. There were no questions whatsoever concerning teachers' views of Union activity. Even if they have much to learn about survey structure, they may already know that they shouldn't ask questions they really don't want the answers to.