June 2023: School Administrator


Additional Articles


Editor's Note
How Our Readers Think of Us

With this issue of School Administrator addressing professional growth, it’s fitting here to focus on our publication’s performance. We are able to gauge the magazine’s standing having recently completed a comprehensive readership study that surveyed AASA’s members about the association’s print and digital products.

I’d like to share a few findings about magazine readership that stood out in the analysis we received from Readex Research, a consulting firm in Stillwater, Minn., that specializes in professional association publications. We contract with Readex about every four years to gauge performance in the eyes of our readers. The recent survey yielded 536 responses.

We discovered some interesting aspects of your reading habits. Of keenest interest to me were the contextual findings that compared our status to the readership of about 20 other professional association magazines that asked some of the same questions of their readers when surveyed by Readex.

Readership frequency. Sixty percent indicated they read four of the last four issues of School Administrator, and another 16 percent had read three of the last four. Among 18 other association magazines, 44 percent indicated they had read the last four of four issues.

Time spent reading. Forty-four percent indicated they spent one hour or more reading a typical issue of our magazine, a virtually identical figure to AASA’s 2013 and 2018 readership studies. In 10 studies at other associations, 24 percent said they spent at least an hour reading the magazine.

Most popular reading. Readers ranked these five sections as the most avidly followed parts of the magazine (in order): Legal Brief, State of the Superintendency (infographic), Feature articles, Board-Savvy Superintendent and Ethical Educator.

Preferred format. Fifty-three percent indicated they preferred the print edition, with 11 percent favoring the digital and 36 percent using both. In 2018, 79 percent preferred print and in 2013, more than 86 percent wanted print. At a dozen other associations, 51 percent said they favored the print option.

On an open-ended question that solicited ideas for improvement, readers weren’t shy. Several asked for more attention in the magazine to best practices, while others promoted the addition of a “Use this tomorrow” section, more concise articles and greater attention to rural schools. One comment read: “Find more time for me to read it.” The most original suggestion: “Print it on rice paper so that I can eat it after I read it!”

What do we plan to do about this volume of fresh, distinctive insights? In collaboration with staff colleagues responsible for AASA’s digital publications, social media and website, we want to explore more deeply the actionable nature of the findings. At the magazine, we subscribe, as many of you in organizational leadership probably do, to continuous improvement. You need not wait for the next readership questionnaire in a few years to share your constructive feedback with us. We don’t intend to sit still.


Jay P. Goldman
Editor, School Administrator
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