Questions relating to risk-behaviors are deeply personal, but they need to be answered honestly. For this reason, student anonymity and confidentiality are of the utmost importance. The questions on the survey are asked in a straight forward manner and are administered under conditions that have been designed to protect the students and reduce their uneasiness about answering questions considered sensitive or personal.
If students are uncomfortable with a question, they have the option to leave it blank. While questions relating to suicide or drug use may be considered sensitive, the negative effects of those behaviors can be fatal. The best way to determine the level of risk is to ask them these questions plainly.
Research indicates data of this nature may be gathered as reliably from adolescents as from adults. Internal reliability checks help to identify the small percentage of students that falsify their answers. To obtain truthful answers, students must perceive the survey as important and understand the procedures that have been developed to protect their privacy and allow for anonymous participation.
The results of these surveys are monitored for changes over time; however, there is no identifying information to tie an individual survey to an individual student through our methods. Students complete the self-administered questionnaire by recording their responses directly on an answer sheet containing no personal identifiers. Published reports do not include the names of schools, teachers, classes or students.