Why use pre-post surveys?The goal of evidence-based programs (EBPs) in adolescent sexual health is to change behaviors that lead to unhealthy or unwanted outcomes. How do we know that what we are doing is working? Unless we actually measure change within individual participants, we can only make educated guesses. Surveys that ask the same questions of students before and after the program content is delivered can give some indication of program success.
What questions are asked on the CAPP pre-post surveys?CAPP surveys ask about past behaviors as well as intent to have sex, use a condom, and use birth control. The CAPP pre-survey is slightly different from the post-survey; a few questions about experience are asked at the start of the cycle, and participant satisfaction questions are asked at the end. However, most questions appear on both surveys.
When and with whom should I use the surveys?
- The pre-survey is given to participants by the educator at the beginning of the first session of the cycle, and the post-survey is given after the last activity in the EBP is completed.
- CAPP pre-post surveys are not used in every cycle. Your ACT for Youth evaluation contact will work with you to determine the CAPP cycles in which you should use surveys.
- Note that in NYC public schools, the surveys may not be used in middle schools; they are currently approved for use with high school students only.
Why are we using electronic surveys?Surveys are completed via the Offline Qualtrics Survey app, which ACT for Youth will help providers set up on tablets or other devices that will be used by participants. Collecting data electronically speeds up the data collection and analysis processes while maintaining confidentiality and reducing costs. This means ACT for Youth can more quickly summarize findings for more providers.
Importantly, tablets do not need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network at the time of survey administration. There is no need to join school or other implementation sites' Wi-Fi networks to administer the surveys. Find more information on tablets and survey administration below.
Will schools and other host organizations allow us to use the survey?Usually, if a site administrator has granted permission for a provider to implement an EBP, he or she is likely to be interested in the results of the surveys. Before you begin, be sure to secure permission in writing from the school principal, program director, or other authority. There are detailed steps for this process below. The survey asks sensitive questions, and it is important that school and program administrators understand and support this process. See "Obtaining Permission" below for ideas on how to approach administrators.
Administering Surveys: An OverviewAdministering the surveys takes planning and time -- time that may already be tight in any given program cycle. Preparation is key.
- Purchase tablets or other devices to collect surveys electronically. ACT for Youth has equipment purchase recommendations (PDF) for everything from the type of tablets to the bag to transport them.
- Each tablet must be set up with a) the Qualtrics Offline Survey app, a free download from app stores, b) minimal access to other apps, and c) parental controls. This needs to be done only once. This document provides instructions for setting up Kindle Fire tablets for survey use (PDF).
- Well before surveys are to be used, educators should review the guidance for survey administration (PDF) so that they are ready for a smooth process.
- Be sure the tablets are charged and any necessary updates are completed the day before using them to collect survey data.
In order to conduct the surveys, you will need permission from the organization that is hosting the EBP, and you may also need to allow parents to opt their children out of the survey.
When introducing the tool, be sure to let administrators know that this tool and protocol have gone through rigorous review processes by Cornell University's Institutional Review Board and the New York City Department of Education Institutional Review Board. These boards have high standards for protecting the privacy, rights, and welfare of participants in research and evaluation projects, and they have approved this tool and protocol.
You may wish to emphasize:
- CAPP is a statewide initiative; survey responses from your sites will be combined with those from around the state as part of the evaluation of the CAPP initiative.
- Surveys are anonymous. Names are never collected with surveys. Program facilitators will not see individual survey responses, only aggregate data.
- Individual participation is optional. Parents and youth participants can decide NOT to take the surveys. Youth participants may also skip any question on the surveys.
For cycles in sites OUTSIDE New York City public schools:
- Discuss the use of surveys with the site administrator or principal. ACT for Youth has developed a template you can use to initiate this conversation or to draw talking points from. The letter may be sent with the parent information/opt-out form below. Feel free to modify the template to fit your needs.
- Send documentation of the site administrator's or principal's permission to use the survey to your ACT for Youth evaluation contact. This can be as simple as a forwarded email exchange. This is required.
- If desired by the site, send the parent information/opt-out form (English PDF; Spanish PDF) home prior to survey administration. If a signed form is returned, be sure the youth participant returning the form does NOT complete surveys. Note: a youth participant without permission to complete surveys may still participate in EBP programming, if permission to attend the EBP was granted.
For cycles WITHIN New York City public schools:
In New York City public schools, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) requires additional steps.
- Ensure all educators who will administer the surveys have been fingerprinted (PDF) by the NYC DOE. (Fingerprinting by other organizations is not accepted.)
- Send documentation of fingerprinting to the NYC DOE Internal Review Board. This is required.
- Discuss the use of surveys with the principal. ACT for Youth has developed a template you can use to initiate this conversation or to draw talking points from. Feel free to modify this document to fit your needs. Use of this document is optional.
- Once approved, have the principal complete the approval to conduct research form (Word) and send it to your ACT for Youth evaluation contact. This is required.
- Send the parent information/opt-out form (English PDF; Spanish PDF) home prior to survey administration. This is required. If a signed form is returned, be sure the student returning the form does NOT complete surveys. Note: a student without permission to complete surveys may still participate in EBP programming, if permission was granted.
Working with providers who are experienced in collecting surveys, ACT for Youth has developed guidelines to streamline the process of using tablets for survey administration (PDF). Check to make sure you and your tablets are prepared!
The surveys ask sensitive questions; it is important for youth participants to understand that their participation is voluntary and their responses will be kept anonymous. Before they administer surveys, educators need to become familiar with the script regarding informed consent -- highlighted in the survey administration document.
Uploading Survey Responses
Once you return to your home organization and tablets are connected to Wi-Fi, upload survey responses recorded in the Qualtrics Offline Survey app. Note that neither educators nor ACT for Youth staff will see names associated with survey responses at any time in this process. Launch the Qualtrics Offline Survey app and tap the button to upload surveys.