Becky’s Blog: “Talk Data to Me” – Featuring Dr. Meghan Velasquez, Guest Blogger

This Year’s Analysis

As we dove into the data produced by the 2016/17 survey administration, we focused heavily on how to make the information gleaned by the survey most digestible and ready for action for our partners as well as how to align the data analysis and reporting with the core values of ACYI. In this vein, you will notice some adjustments to the 2016/17 ACSS County Report compared to reports of years past.
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  1. The 2016-2017 ACSS school reports were adjusted to show greater detail. In previous years, student responses were grouped and reported at an aggregate level for each item. For example, in a question that offered students the categories of, “0 times, 1-4 times, 5-9 times and 10 or more times” all of the responses from “1-4, 5-9 and 10 or more times” were grouped together and reported. Given the nature of many items, the 2016-17 reports included student response percentages for each category. Thus far, schools have responded very positively to this level of detailed information.
  2. The 2016-2017 reports include the responses of all students. The ACSS follows best practice in student perception research as it allows students to skip items. In previous years, when students have skipped and item, their nonresponse was removed from the sample for that item. This year, all students’ responses were included and the nonresponse rate for each item was reported at the school and district levels.  12345
Additionally, the 2016/17 instrument was customized for each school district. In meeting with school partners, we learned that customization was a huge step forward at the school and district levels. Customization allowed schools to collect information for grant applications and reports unique to their organizations. It allowed them to align the ACSS to their current work and collect student feedback on programs, practices, and areas of focus for their district.

Celebrations At The County Level

At the county level on the other hand, customization of the instruments posed some unique challenges. Most significantly was the issue of ‘rolling up the data’ across all five partner districts.

Because each school district administered a different, customized, survey the county report is limited to the items that were included in all five partner district survey instruments. Likewise, customization posed challenges with reporting data over time or longitudinal data as many questions from years past were removed or rearranged and new ones were added. That said, the county report does contain trend over time information but this is also limited to the items included in all five district instruments and that had been administered previously. 
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Through the process of analyzing the data and preparing the county report, we identified some significant celebrations in the data. Across Adams County, students’ responses trended favorably in several categories.
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  • Bullying and Fighting: Students reported a significant reduction of being “harassed or bullied on school property.” The trend holds true at both the middle and high school levels and is reported in conjunction with reductions in students reporting that other students have “said bad things about you to hurt your reputation or friendships with others” as well as that someone “has said something bad about you because of your weight, size, gender or physical appearance” at the middle school level.
  • Gangs and Weapons: Students reported a significant reduction in gang presence at both the middle and high school levels.
  • Substance Use: Middle school and high school students reported that it is more difficult to access drugs and alcohol. Additionally, high school students reported reductions in alcohol, marijuana and recreational prescription drug use.
  • Substance Use – Access and Driving: Significant reductions in student reports of driving and riding in vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the high school level (These items are not included in the middle school survey.).
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To access the full report, CLICK HERE.

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