Proctor / Administrator FAQ

Data Security

DFC (Drug Free Communities)

Individual Data and Consent

Languages

Logistics of Survey Administration

National and Comparable Data

Reporting

Survey Questions

Developmental Assets Surveys

What's Next?

Can't find the answers you're looking for? Call 800-888-7828, or email us at clientservices@search-institute.org.


Data Security

Where and how is the data stored?
Data is stored on Search Institute’s secure servers and is only accessible to Search Institute employees who work on the analysis. Datasets have a number assigned to them. Organizational youth identification information is not stored in these databases.

How will Search Institute use the data that is collected?
Search Institute does not use data for any purposes outside of what is listed in the parental fact sheet and consent letter. The school, program, or organization using the survey will only be able to see an aggregated report of their survey results. These reports are typically used for strategic planning or evaluating the effectiveness of programs.
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DFC (Drug Free Communities)

We are a Drug Free Community grantee. Do your surveys comply with the Four Core Measures?
Yes, the DAP can be ordered with the added Four Core Measures for an additional fee. The Attitudes and Behaviors survey also complies with the latest Four Core Measure requirements for DFC grantees.

We are a Drug Free Communities grantee new to the Developmental Assets. How does the Developmental Assets framework relate to our prevention efforts?
Research on the Developmental Assets has shown that strong, measurable links exist between youth assets, thriving, and risk behaviors. Youth who report higher levels of Developmental Assets generally report fewer risk behaviors than peers who report fewer assets. Implementing the Developmental Asset framework can add value to your prevention efforts by offering tested, research-based results and a flexible foundation for the work you're already doing.
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Individual Data and Consent

Can I get individually identified data?
Yes, if you used active consent and parents are aware of your intentions to use individually identifiable results. We can provide data on an individual level and it can have a specific identifier; this identifier must be entered by the young person at the time that he or she taking the survey. You will need to purchase the Individual Data File in order to receive the data to analyze.

Are the surveys anonymous and confidential?
Surveys are confidential and most of the time anonymous. Most surveys have an option for your organization to ask for a youth identifier. This is commonly used if you are linking results to your own data sources or to match a pre- and post-survey. This is not a requirement, and our User Guide provides more information on how to obtain the proper consent from the parents. The researchers at Search Institute will not be able to access other identifiable information using that ID. All data is stored on our secure servers where access is limited to those individuals working on the project.

Should I have our youth use a unique identifier when completing the survey?
It depends on your data collection goals. If you have qualified staff to interpret these data at an individual level, and there is value for individual results in your programming, then, yes, use a unique identifier. You will need to purchase the Individual Data File in order to receive the data to analyze. The identifier field can be removed if you do not wish to collect this data.

Can we look at individual students’ experiences of Developmental Assets?
The A&B survey was designed to provide aggregate-level data for individual communities. It was not designed as an individual student assessment instrument or as a program evaluation tool. Search Institute does offer a survey to assess the strengths of individual students and small groups with its Developmental Assets Profile (DAP) survey. The DAP is a brief survey designed to yield individual data on the eight Developmental Asset categories and five Context Views. The DAP is oftentimes used to measure change over time, and provide data for program evaluation purposes.
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Languages

Which other languages are services available in?
All surveys are available in English. We do have several other languages available for DAP. Please email surveys@search-institute.org to inquire.

Can I administer the survey in Spanish?
The DAP has a Spanish version built-in. To access this version click on the gray bar at the top of the survey.
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Logistics of Survey Administration

Is there a specific time period that my survey must be used?
No, we will keep the links active until you tell us otherwise.

Can I use paper surveys?
Two of our surveys (DAP and YAPS) may be administered using paper. You will receive a pdf from Search Institute to be used for your survey administration, either in its entirety or with a combination of online surveys. The responses will then need to be entered into the online survey as if the youth themselves are taking it online.

Can the surveys be taken on mobile devices?
Since the surveys are administered through a unique url they can be completed on mobile devices that have browsers. This includes computers, iPads, tablets, mobile phones, etc. It is something that should be thoughtfully considered. Having youth take the survey on their personal devices could create complications such as: a feeling of inequality, distractions while surveying, the need for additional monitors, completing the survey outside of the administration window, additional data usage charges, etc.

Will the survey automatically change reading levels?
If your survey has multiple reading level options it will automatically switch to the appropriate version if the grade is entered for that youth. This way multiple ages can use the same survey link. This is currently only an option for the DAP survey questions.
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For additional information around planning of the survey administration, please see the user guides linked below.

National and Comparable Data

Where can I find comparable national data on alcohol and drug use?
While Search Institute does not archive national aggregate data on risk behaviors related to alcohol and drug use, national data is available online at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies (OAS) web site, http://oas.samhsa.gov/.

Can we compare our survey results to national data?
Search Institute has an aggregate dataset representing 89,366 public or alternative school students in grades 6 through 12 (available in A Fragile Foundation: The State of Developmental Assets among American Youth). The sample includes students from U.S. communities in 26 states. These data were gathered through independent community studies across the 2009-2010 school year. Caution should be used in comparing your community’s data to this aggregate data set, as the dataset is not based on a nationally representative sample, but rather, was weighted to reflect the 2010 U.S. Census. While a community may choose to use these data as a barometer of how similar or different its youth are compared to the youth represented in this larger sample, Search Institute strongly recommends that each community sets its own goals based on where it wants its young people to be rather than where its young people are in relation to this aggregate data. An updated dataset is also available in The Asset Approach; this document contains A&B data from 2012-2016.
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Reporting

How do I get my reports?
Once you have completed your administration, please submit the correct report request form below:

How long until I receive my report?
Allow one to two weeks from the date that you have submitted the correct report request form.

Can I order another report after I’ve finished survey administration?
Yes, in some cases. We cannot divide youth into cohorts unless there is an identifiable way to do so, either with their unique ID or through a demographic category. We can also create aggregates from multiple sites.

How can we cite our A&B Report and the Executive Summary?
When disseminating information from the full report of Executive Summary, use the following citation: From Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth for [name of your school/community] © [year of your report] by Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN. Data collected with the survey Search Institute Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors, copyright © 2017, Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN
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Survey Questions

Do youth answer truthfully?
Studies have shown that students are truthful when answering questions on anonymous surveys. To be safe, our analyses looks for inconsistencies in the way students respond to similar questions, unrealistically high substance use, too many unanswered items, and patterns in responses. Surveys with these kinds of problems are not used in the report findings. The percentage of surveys removed from individual school or community studies has remained consistent over time and generally falls into the 15 to 20 percent range.

Will asking questions about certain topics actually encourage certain behaviors?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “There is no evidence that simply asking students about health risk behaviors will encourage them to try that behavior.” http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/faq.htm

Why does Search Institute ask questions related to sexual activity and use of protection?
The primary reason we ask these questions is based on the same thoughts and reasoning behind asking about the other variety of high-risk behaviors, and that is in order to help schools and other organizations understand the extent of these problems in their communities, as well as how building Developmental Assets can help prevent those problems. The age of puberty has dropped considerably over the last 50 years, now occurring for the majority of girls between ages 9-12, and for boys between ages 10-13. Twenty percent of adolescents will have sexual intercourse while in middle school. For those children, early sexual intercourse is even riskier than it is for older adolescents, as the younger they are, the less likely they are to use protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Communities need to know the extent to which their kids are engaging in risky behaviors like this in order to know how best to both promote positive development in general and to reduce or prevent risky behaviors specifically.

Why do you ask certain questions in the surveys?
The questions reflect the research that Search Institute and other experts are doing in the field of positive youth development. The core of these questions are from the Developmental Assets and Developmental Relationships frameworks, which are both strengths-based. Other outcome areas such as risk behaviors and thriving indicators may be measured, depending on the survey used. Youth are given the option to skip questions that they do not wish to answer.
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Developmental Assets Surveys

We administered the A&B survey in the past; can we use the A&B again to show change over time?
The A&B survey should not be used to measure change over time or as a pre/post test. This is true for a few different reasons: The most important reason lies in the dichotomous nature of Developmental Asset measurement. By dichotomous, what we mean is that when we score the surveys, we determine whether each respondent (anonymously) “has” or doesn’t “have” each of the Developmental Assets by using mean scores from the items we’ve created to measure those Developmental Assets. We then pull all of that information together to give you results for the full group. When we report results in a dichotomous manner (which is appropriate when reporting group results), there is only have or have not; yes or no. This differs from reporting data on a continuous scale, where a respondent’s average score could land anywhere along a scale. As you can imagine, any given person could make a lot of progress towards having a Developmental Asset without crossing that point at which we say they do have the asset. And that’s the kind of change that’s important to see if you’re doing any work that needs to show positive change over time. A second point to keep in mind is that these surveys are used primarily in schools, and are given anonymously. From year to year, school populations change with kids leaving or joining the district, or simply by being absent on the date the survey is administered. Ideally, change over time measurement would follow the same group of kids, which is impractical with these surveys. Many communities use these surveys repeatedly, and that’s appropriate as long as we’re all clear on reasonable goals. It’s reasonable and effective to use these surveys to gain an accurate and current perspective on the beliefs and experiences of the youth you are currently surveying. As those who have worked in schools know, any given class can have a very distinct personality, and so getting that updated view is important so that you’re not making inaccurate assumptions about the group of youth currently living in your community based on results from previous groups. Many find it useful to, for example, follow trends in a particular grade level or levels (e.g. 6th graders in 2011 vs. 6th graders in 2012), and that’s a very reasonable goal. The Attitudes and Behaviors was designed to give a look at how a group of youth is experiencing assets, risk behaviors, deficits, and thriving behaviors at a particular point in time. It does this quite well, and thus works beautifully as a community mobilization tool. It can be a catalyst for forming or sustaining an asset-building initiative by giving youth a way to share the community experience from their perspective. If you are specifically interested in an instrument to show change over time or use in a program evaluation, you may want to consider our Developmental Assets Profile. More information can be found online: www.search-institute.org/surveys/DAP.

Why does the research show that Developmental Asset levels often decrease as youth get older?
Our cross-sectional (one-time snapshot) studies and longitudinal research following youth over time show that the total number of assets tends to decrease, on the average, among high school students as compared to middle school students. One study did show an average increase for some assets later in high school, in the 11th and 12th grades. Using the Me and My World survey with 4th-6th graders, we also found that 4th and 5th graders have higher average asset levels than 6th graders. So the evidence seems to be very consistent that younger children have more assets, on average. The biggest drop seems to occur in middle school, especially 7th and 8th grades, and continue in the first year of high school, which for most students is 9th grade. What seems to be happening is that the quantity and quality of relationships young people have—which are the foundation of the assets approach—seem to deteriorate across those years. Many adults find young adolescents more difficult, changeable, demanding, and provocative than elementary-aged children, and pull back from connecting with them more than superficially, if even that. Of course, some adults flip those adjectives upside down, and find young adolescents lively, flexible, spontaneous, experimental, inquisitive, and curious, and love to be around them. But they appear to be in the minority. It’s not all about adults, of course. Peer relationships can also be tough in those transitional years. Note too that we say assets tend to decrease, “on average,” because many youth increase, and many stay relatively stable too: There are multiple “asset paths.” In one study, for example, we found that the greatest percentage of students, 41%, did decrease, but we also found that 35% of students remained stable in their asset totals from middle school to high school, and 24% increased. The average that is happening to a large group doesn’t necessarily describe the experience of an individual student.

How can ___% of our youth have each of the ___ items in a certain Developmental Asset, but only ___% actually possess that particular asset?
Youth have to average “agree” on all measures of a particular Developmental Asset in order to actually “have” the Developmental Asset. Different youth may have some of the individual elements, but fewer youth may have averaged having all of them. This explains why the percentages attributed to each response cannot simply be averaged to find out the percentage of youth with that particular Developmental Asset.

What is the history behind the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey?
Search Institute’s Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors (A&B) survey was created in 1989 and measured 30 Developmental Assets at the time. In 1996, the asset framework was expanded to 40 Developmental Assets. This was done on the basis of Search Institute’s analysis of its own aggregate data from the more than 250,000 students who took the original 30-asset survey during the period 1989–1994, as well as additional syntheses of child and adolescent research and conversations with researchers and practitioners. The A&B was revised in 2008 and again in 2012 to collect “Four Core Measures” data required for COMET reporting by Drug Free Communities grantees, as well as to update obsolete and outdated language, and add more timely questions for young adults. An additional update was completed in 2016.
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What's Next?

Now that we’ve received our survey data, how can we best utilize it?
It can be difficult to come up with an action plan after you’ve received your survey results. After wading through extensive report, the obvious question is “Where do I start?” Search Institute offers the presentation “What’s Up with Our Kids?” to assist you in analyzing and disseminating your A&B survey data, as well as discussing the implications for asset building in your community. Find out more about Search Institute workshops at www.search-institute.org/keynotes-workshops.
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Can't find the answers you're looking for? Call 800-888-7828, or email us at clientservices@search-institute.org.