The Student Stressors and Assets Survey: An Assessment of the Developmental Assets™ of Students in the Bernards Township School DistrictBased on a Report Prepared By: Kirk C. Harlow, Dr.P.H. firstname.lastname@example.org
Study Process Focus on assessing the presence among students of the Search Institute’s eight developmental assets Support—support from family, school, and community Empowerment—valuing of young people by the community Boundaries and expectations—clear expectations and limits Constructive use of time—enriching activities in which young people can participate Commitment to learning—lifelong commitment to learning and education Positive values—guiding values for choices Social competencies—Skills equipping young people to make effective choices Positive identity—Sense of purpose and worth.
Questionnaire Design 25 questions drawn from Search Institute Remaining questions developed specifically for project Parental permission gotten for each student completing questionnaire Distributed in classrooms Distributed to all 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders
Response Rates Table 1. Response Rates by Grade and Gender Grade Males Females Total 6th 56% 62% 59% 8th 31% 33% 32% 10th 77% 84% 80% 12th 48% 63% 56% Total 53% 60% 56%
Summary Mean Scores for SevenDevelopmental Asset Categories byGrade Grade in School 6th 8th 10th 12th Total Asset Categories Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Support summary 4.1 3.8 3.7 3.9 3.9 Boundaries summary 3.8 3.7 3.6 3.4 3.6 Commitment to learning 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.0 summary Positive identity summary 4.1 3.8 3.4 3.6 3.7 Social competency 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.7 3.7 summary Positive values summary 4.0 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.8 Empowerment summary 3.2 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.0 Scores are based on a 1 to 5 point scale in which 5 is highest.
Athletic Involvement Asset 8-Constructive Use of Time through ActivitiesHave you participated in Athletics/Intramural sports? Yes No Grade in School Row N % Row N % 6th 76.9% 23.1% 8th 80.2% 19.8% 10th 80.7% 19.3% 12th 74.9% 25.1% Total 78.3% 21.7% If yes, how worthwhile do you think your participation was? Somewhat Not worthwhile worthwhile Very worthwhile Grade in School Row N % Row N % Row N % 6th 3.4% 22.7% 73.9% 8th 12.0% 32.6% 55.4% 10th 9.5% 29.7% 60.8% 12th 7.3% 33.0% 59.7% Total 8.4% 30.1% 61.5%
Alcohol Use Grade in School 6th 8th 10th 12th Total Column N % Column N % Column N % Column N % Column N %In the past 3 months, have you drunkbeer, wine, or “hard” liquor, notcounting religious occasions? Never 93.6% 82.0% 39.5% 19.8% 50.1% 1 or 2 times 5.3% 11.7% 27.9% 20.6% 19.4% 3 or 4 times 0.6% 3.1% 14.4% 18.6% 11.4% 5 or more times 0.6% 3.1% 18.2% 41.1% 19.1%In the past 3 months, how many timeshave you gotten drunk? Never 98.8% 92.1% 62.2% 40.0% 66.9% 1 or 2 times 0.0% 4.0% 18.9% 20.4% 13.8% 3 or 4 times 0.0% 1.6% 10.6% 15.7% 8.8% 5 or more times 1.2% 2.4% 8.3% 23.9% 10.6%
Drug Use Grade in School 6th 8th 10th 12th Total Column N % Column N % Column N % Column N % Column N %In the past year, how often used adrug other than alcohol to gethigh? Never 98.3% 91.4% 74.2% 53.9% 73.4% 1 or 2 times 1.7% 3.8% 8.1% 14.1% 8.5% 3 or 4 times 0.0% 1.0% 4.2% 5.9% 3.7% 5 or 6 times 0.0% 1.0% 1.7% 3.1% 1.8% More than 6 times 0.0% 2.9% 11.9% 23.0% 12.6%
Summary of Findings There is a cause for concern about alcohol use. The results indicated higher alcohol use among students in athletics compared to others. A similar result was found in the 2005 survey. There also was an indication that some students are riding in cars in which they perceive the driver as being drunk. While parental support was high, about one-fourth of all students indicated feeling too much pressure from parents to do well. Students who felt too much pressure also indicated feeling less support from parents. About half of the students indicated getting support from teachers, but only 30% of all students indicated feeling that teachers cared about them.
Summary of Findings Students indicated feeling that school rules were clear, but not necessarily family rules. In addition, it appeared that punishment for breaking family rules was not consistent. An inverse relationship between the clarity of family rules and involvement in risk behavior such as alcohol or drug use was found. Students indicated knowing how to set limits, but they also indicated acting without thinking. There is the potential for impulsive behavior to override self-regulatory behavior. By 10th grade over 25% of the students indicated cheating on a test two or more times in the past year. About two-thirds of 10th and 12th graders indicated copying homework two or more times in the past year.
Implications of Findings The significant use of alcohol among students, especially among athletes, suggests that a concerted effort may be needed to address the risk associated with alcohol use among these students. The results indicate that some of the underlying factors may be related to social norms. The evidence that some students are riding in cars in which the driver is drunk suggests the need for increased efforts to prevent driving while drunk. There were clear, positive relationships between the Developmental Assets and lower involvement in risk behaviors. While many students have high scores for the assets, exploring measures that may strengthen the assets for at-risk students should be considered.
Implications of Findings Cheating in school has become a national problem, and the survey’s results indicate the problem is also present in these students. It may be useful to explore approaches to reduce cheating. There was an identified relationship between thrill seeking and impulse control, and high-risk behavior. Developing programs that focus not only on resistance, but impulse control, may be worthwhile. Targeting higher risk students, such as those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, may be of value. The results of the survey, in an appropriate format, should be made available not only to adults in the community, but also the students. Sharing the results is empowering, and an opportunity to open discussion about the issues examined in the survey.