Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Each year, Greenbush – The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center on behalf of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Behavioral Health Services Commission conducts a survey to gather the information needed to plan important prevention and intervention programs to combat such problems as alcohol and other drug use, bullying, gambling and violence in our schools and communities. The survey is conducted with students in the sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades.

The focus of the KCTC Student Survey is on:

  • health risk behaviors—such as violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use—that can result in injury and/or impede positive development among youth,
  • district-level measures of the KSDE adopted Social, Emotional and Character Development Model Standards,
  • local baseline data on youth self-reported depression and suicide data to assist with planning for prevention, and
  • identifying risk factors (predictors of problem behaviors) and protective factors (predictors of positive youth outcomes) which are attitudes and opinions that research has shown to be highly correlated with health risk behaviors.

Risk-focused prevention is based on a simple premise: To prevent a problem from happening, we need to identify the factors that increase the risk of that problem developing and then find ways to reduce the risks . Just as medical researchers have found risk factors for heart attacks such as diets high in fats, lack of exercise, and smoking, research has defined a set of risk factors for drug abuse.

By participating in this survey, your school has the opportunity to learn more about the specific needs of its students. You will be provided a summary of results broken down by district and school, along with county and statewide results for comparison. School districts can then identify areas of need and choose programs and activities to impact these areas. Subsequent surveys are used to determine if the programs and activities that were implemented are having a positive impact. Advantages of this survey are: it helps communities focus their efforts on identified areas of need; because it is a federally approved needs assessment, funders are more likely to look positively on it as an objective tool; and it helps support grant applications.

There are grant applications that rely on district’s KCTC participation in order to collect various data used in the selection process of grant recipients and to track progress toward program goals.

It is not just your district that relies on KCTC data, but many other community programs and services, and state agencies as well. These include community coalitions, the Kansas Prevention Collaborative, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, Kansas Children’s Service League, Communities In Schools, and Juvenile Justice Authority to name a few. These groups count on annual survey data to and evaluate grant funding, monies that directly or indirectly benefit students, families and communities. These organizations often assist in providing services based upon needs identified through survey results. The value of these services to schools is incalculable in terms of increasing school attendance, improving the physical and mental health of students, increasing academic achievement and graduation rates, and reducing drop-out rates.

In addition, data from the student survey can be used to measure and track bullying and school climate/safety issues.

Participation in this survey is voluntary. Each school has a right to decline participation, just as each student has a right to decline. However, to obtain accurate estimates and comparisons of these behaviors at state, JJA, county and local levels, broad participation is needed. However, broad participation is needed to obtain accurate estimates and comparisons of these behaviors at state, county and local levels.

Because we survey 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades, it is important to administer the survey every year to ultimately reach all students. It is also important that all students be given the opportunity to participate. As students move through school and have less structured schedules, it becomes more difficult to make sure that all students receive the opportunity to participate. In order to determine if prevention activities are successful, annual comparison data is needed. In addition, many community organizations may need annual data for grant evaluation requirements.

More than 51% of eligible Kansas students participated in the survey in 2020. There were more than 80,600 surveys submitted from 254 districts and private schools compared to approximately 74,200 students in 241 districts and private schools in 2019. When 2020 KCTC demographic data from the 51% of all eligible students responding was compared to the actual distribution of all eligible students in Kansas in 2020, the proportion was similar to that found for KCTC distribution in prior years when participation rates were substantially higher.

Yes, this act requires written parental consent for surveys administered in schools. An information letter and consent form should be provided to parents of students in the sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades at enrollment or at least a month prior to the date of administration. A copy of the survey is available for preview from the menu above (click About, View the KCTC survey) and should be made available to parents.

No, PPRA applies only to programs that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Funding for the Kansas Communities That Care Student Survey is provided by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Behavioral Health Services.

While the survey instrument is sound, attention and effort at the local level must be given to get accurate data. To ensure that the data collected is truly reflective of the school and community, there must be a high level of participation at all grade levels (80% is recommended). It is important that staff follow the instructions in the protocol and emphasize the importance of the survey. Some suspect that students do not take the survey seriously and therefore do not provide reliable data. We have found that while that may be true in limited instances or when staff do not follow protocol, trend data in Kansas is consistent from year to year, as well as with national data, indicating that kids do answer more honestly than what they might say. All data reported is based upon valid surveys, which are those determined valid after CTC data cleaning protocol and validity checks have been applied.

The survey is designed to measure key behaviors without asking sensitive questions, although it is possible that some schools may consider some questions sensitive. The survey includes questions related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; violent behaviors; and related risk and protective factors, including 36 family domain questions. Unless questions in these topic areas are asked honestly and straightforwardly, we cannot know the degree to which Kansas youth engage in these health risk behaviors.

From the menu above, click About Survey, View the KCTC Survey.

Two versions of the survey are available: a Comprehensive version and an Alternate version.

  1. Comprehensive Version ‐ This is the full survey. It contains questions pertaining to CTC Risk and Protective Factors, including sections on Demographics & School Climate; Peer Influences; Drug/Alcohol/Tobacco Usage; Community-Based Perceptions; and Family Domain.
  2. Alternate Version ‐ This is the shorter version. It contains all the same questions as the Comprehensive version but excludes Family Domain questions, which determine things like a student’s view of parents’ attitudes toward drugs/alcohol.

Surveys are available online in both English and Spanish. Students may toggle between languages within the survey.

One optional module is available: Depression/Suicide Module – This short module contains four questions related to depression and suicide ideation and attempt. It is available for use with both the comprehensive and alternate versions.

  • During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?
  • Have you ever seriously thought about killing yourself?
  • Have you ever made a plan about how you would kill yourself?
  • Have you ever tried to kill yourself?

The survey is available online. To administer the survey, all you need is a device with internet connection. Although the survey may be taken from a smartphone, it is not recommended. The survey has been tested on PC, Mac, Chromebook, iPad, Android tablet, iPhones & Android phones. We provide a link to the survey. Multiple classes can take the survey on the same devices.

Student participation in this study is completely voluntary. At the beginning of the class period when the survey is administered, the teacher is asked to read a prepared statement that informs the students that their participation is voluntary. They will be allowed to decline to participate or to skip any question they prefer not to answer. Any student who declines the survey will be provided with an alternative activity while the survey is being administered. Parents also have the option of excusing their child from participation.

It is not recommended for students who cannot read and comprehend survey questions without assistance to participate in the survey. It is also not recommended for staff to read survey questions aloud to students..

Yes, completely. Students will not be asked for their names on the questionnaire, nor will anyone be able to connect any individual student with his/her responses. School staff will not see any one student’s responses, but only summaries of results. To further guarantee anonymity, results will not be reported on any particular question without sufficient response from enough students.

All data are stored on an internal server at the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center. The server is not connected to the internet and passwords are required to log in. Aggregate data are uploaded to an external server that has a managed firewall, with two-factor authentication and encrypted passwords. This server houses the website. District and building level data are password protected with only the respective school superintendent given the password. County and state data are publicly accessible if at least 25% of the county has taken the survey. The data are secure and have never been sold or given to any commercial group.

Because we guarantee anonymity for participating students, we do need to have a minimum 25% participation and at least 20 participants per aggregation level, in order to report data at that level (grade, school, district, county). If participation does not meet these levels, data are not reported on the website but may in some cases be obtained by contacting us directly.

The survey will take approximately 50 minutes to complete and will be administered during a single class period, regardless of which version or format is used. Although it is expected that students will have sufficient time to complete the entire survey, they will be informed to not be concerned if they are not able to finish all questions. Survey administration should not be broken up into two separate sessions.

The survey is available for administration each school year between November 1st and January 31st. For best results, the survey should be administered to all schools in the district on the same day. Within a given school, the survey should be administered to all participating grades during the same class period. This will help avoid students discussing the questions with classmates who have not yet completed the survey and therefore biasing results. Avoid scheduling on Mondays or Fridays because the proximity of these days to the weekend has been shown to affect how students respond to the questions and possibly bias results.

Ideally, districts should identify one individual (e.g., a counselor, curriculum director or principal) who will be responsible for coordinating all surveys in the district. This person might be a counselor, curriculum director or principal. This person should then be in charge of scheduling the survey in applicable classes and communicating this information to teachers. This individual is also responsible for distributing survey link and/or paper surveys and instructions to schools and ensuring that all paper surveys are collected and returned to Greenbush in order to be scanned and the resulting data compiled. Staff at Greenbush will provide technical assistance and resources upon request. Let us know how we can help you.

Results will be made available on this site by June 1st each year. (If you need specific district data prior to that time, please contact us.) Others may view actual state, county and Judicial District data, but in order to access specific district- or building-level data, a log-in password is needed. The password is provided only to superintendents to distribute at their discretion. Districts can also easily create customized reports from the data on the website, comparing their district to county or state averages. District summary reports will be sent to superintendents in September with some of the more commonly requested data and annual state comparisons.

  • The survey provides information that can be used to identify the prevalence and trends of various problem behaviors. This information can be used as input for resource and policy planning decisions, such as targeting prevention interventions. Those who receive the information may choose to share it with other community organizations.
  • At state and federal levels, there are a variety of competing interests for limited resources. Results of this survey can and have been used to provide evidence for the high priority of those issues that are revealed to be important.
  • There are some grant applications, such as the Drug Free Communities, Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnership for Success and Kansas Prevention Collaborative - Community Initiative grants administered by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Behavioral Health Services, which require KCTC participation in order to collect various data used to track progress toward program goals.
  • Community coalitions in your area may be using local KCTC data for grant reporting. Some grants, such as the Drug Free Communities, Kansas Prevention Collaborative - Community Initiative (KPCCI), Partnerships for Success, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, School Climate Transformation, require KCTC participation in order to collect various data used to track progress toward program goals.