Student Survey FAQ

About the Survey
What does the Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences measure?
How was the survey developed?
How can our school use the results?

Administering the Survey
When is the best time of year to administer the survey?
What are the best ways to inform our school community about the survey?
How do we obtain parent permission?
How long is the survey?
Do all students have to take the survey?
What if a student doesn’t want to take the survey?
What if a student doesn’t want to answer one or more questions on the survey?
Do all students in our school need to take the survey at the same time?
How do we administer the survey?
Does a staff member have to be in the room with students while they are taking the survey?
What if a student has a question about the survey while he/she is taking it?

Survey Results
Are survey results confidential?
When and how will we receive our survey results?


What does the Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences measure?
The survey measures middle and high school students’ perspectives on homework, extracurricular activities and free time, sleep, physical health, school-related stress, parent expectations, academic engagement, academic integrity, and teacher support.

How was the survey developed?
The survey was originally developed in 2009 by Stanford researchers and is overseen by Stanford’s Administrative Panels for the Protection of Human Subjects.

How can our school use the results?
Survey findings can help schools make data-driven policy and practice decisions that improve student well-being and engagement with learning. For instance, based on results from the survey, some schools have revised homework policies, changed bell schedules, given parent and student education workshops on sleep and physical health, and revised their honor codes.

When is the best time of year to administer the survey?
We recommend you administer the survey during a time that is typical for students at your school. Students should not take the survey right before or after exams or during the first few weeks of school.  For schools joining our School Program, we recommend administering the survey during the prior winter or spring.

What are the best ways to inform our school community about the survey?
We recommend that you include information about the survey in a school newsletter and talk about it with students prior to survey administration. You can use some of the information we have provided in this document to explain the benefits and get your school community excited about what you might learn from the results.

How do we obtain parent permission?
Schools are required to provide survey information and a consent form to all parents prior to survey administration. Challenge Success will provide schools with materials that can be shared with parents electronically.  Parents who wish to waive their child’s participation must sign and return the consent form that is included. If they do not return the form, the student has permission from the parent to take the survey

How long is the survey?
The survey has about 70 questions and takes 30-40 minutes to complete.

Do all students have to take the survey?
We recommend that you encourage all students to participate.  We aim for a response rate of at least 70%.

What if a student doesn’t want to take the survey?
Students do not have to take the survey. Before beginning the survey, students are given an online assent form, which offers them an opportunity to opt out.  

What if a student doesn’t want to answer one or more questions on the survey?
Students can choose not to answer any or all questions.  

Do all students in our school need to take the survey at the same time?
No, it is not essential that students take the survey at the same time. However, we ask that all students taking the survey do so over the course of 7 or fewer days.  Some schools administer the survey during a class that all students take (e.g. English or PE). Others offer it during an advisory or assembly period. However you structure it, each individual student must complete the survey in one sitting.   

How do we administer the survey?
We recommend that students take the survey during a period that’s at least 45 minutes in length. Each student will need access to a computer or tablet as well as a reliable internet connection. Challenge Success will email you a link to a secure website, which you can distribute to your students when they sit for the survey.

Does a staff member have to be in the room with students while they are taking the survey?
Yes, we ask that a staff member read a script to students before they take the survey and stay in the room while they take it.

What if a student has a question about the survey while he/she is taking it?
The staff member may answer any questions students have about the survey (for example, they can help if the student doesn’t understand the question) but should not provide the answer to specific survey questions.

Are survey results confidential?
Survey results are anonymous and kept strictly confidential. Students are not asked to provide their names and can opt out of answering any or all questions.

When and how will we receive our survey results?  
It takes the Challenge Success research team approximately 4-6 weeks to process your survey data and prepare an online dashboard of the results. Once complete, we will set up an hour-long video call with representatives from your school to debrief the results. During this call, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions about the data, consider ways to build upon your school’s strengths, and discuss areas of need or concern.