Is Your Child Taking a Search Institute Survey? Let us Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions


What do Search Institute surveys measure?
Our surveys primarily measure the Developmental Assets. To see a list of measures and learn more about them, please visit this webpage.

How is my child’s data presented?
Each participant at a school, program, or organization is anonymously grouped, with scores and results presented only at the aggregate level. No one will see an individual youth’s results.

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 the scales that a particular survey measures. These reports are typically used for strategic planning or evaluating the effectiveness of programs.

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 names and youth identification information are not stored in these databases.

What will a school or youth-serving organization be able to see about my child?
Our surveys are presented in an aggregated format. No information about how a child answered specific questions will be shared.

Are the surveys anonymous and confidential?
Surveys are confidential and most of the time anonymous. Youth may be asked to place a name or identifier on the survey. The organization administering the survey will let all parent’s know if this is the case. All data is stored on our secure servers where access is limited to those individuals working on the project.

Will the report be shared with me?
We strongly encourage schools, programs, and other organizations to share their final report with parents as well as youth participants. We hope that you will have access to the report and be part of discussions to improve services and supports for youth.

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 is the Developmental Assets framework, or the strengths and supports in a youth’s life. We also correlate these assets to other outcome areas such as risk behaviors and thriving indicators. Youth are given the option to skip questions that they do not wish to answer.

Will I be asked for my consent?
We ask that schools, programs, and other organizations use passive consent at the minimum. They are provided with templates for consent letters and parental informational fact sheets. We ask all of our partners to follow state and local guidelines for determining the necessary level of consent. Our survey scripts also inform youth that participation is voluntary, even if a parent has already given consent.

Can I see the questions?
We ask schools, programs, and other organizations that are using our surveys to provide a hard copy of the questions at their office for your review.

Can individual data ever be made available?
Not without your consent. Individual data can be made available with a few of our surveys, and in doing so, active consent is a requirement. As a parent, you will have to “opt-in” if individual results are to be used. If you have granted permission to release your child’s individual data, administrators of a school or organization will only see basic demographic information such as gender, grade, and scores on low-risk scales, such as commitment to learning and constructive use of time.