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Evaluation: ORS, Surveys

PREP Entry-Exit Surveys

Why use entry-exit surveys?

These surveys, which ask about participants' experience with the program, are part of PREP performance measures. 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 as to the effectiveness of the program. Surveys that ask the same questions of students before and after the program content is delivered can give some indication of program success.

Using the surveys is a requirement of PREP funding.

What questions are asked on the PREP entry-exit surveys?

The Entry survey asks information about participant demographics, attitudes, and experiences regarding sexual health. The Exit survey has the same questions, and adds a few about their experience with the program. The PDFs below show the questions asked on each survey. Participants will complete electronic surveys; these PDFs should only be used when preparing staff and arranging for permission to administer the surveys.

When should I use the surveys?

  • Sessions. Educators give the entry survey to participants at the beginning of the first session of the cycle, and give the exit survey after the last activity in the EBP is completed.
  • Cycles. PREP providers are required to use both surveys with every PREP EBP cycle.

Administering Surveys: An Overview

Administering the surveys takes planning and time — time that may already be tight in any given program cycle. Preparation is key.

Working with providers who are experienced in collecting surveys, ACT for Youth has developed the following guidance:

Survey Links

Educators administer surveys to participants through URLs and/or QR codes on a device that is connected to the internet. Here are some points to consider when preparing to administer surveys:

  • Do participants have internet access?
  • Do participants have cell phones?
  • Do program facilitators have an electronic method to contact participants in order to send links such as email, social media messaging, or texting?
  • Tablets previously purchased for survey administration can be used to access survey links as long as they are connected to the internet.
    • Mobile hotspots are an option to help with internet access — please contact your DOH program advisor for more information.

Health Educator Supervisors can request the URLs and/or QR codes by emailing the evaluation contact in their ACT for Youth Support Team. Their ACT for Youth evaluation team contact will send separate URLs and/or QR codes for each specific combination of survey type (Entry/Exit), age group (high school/middle school), setting (NYC DOE/Non-NYC DOE), and language (English/Spanish). Each URL and/or QR code can be used as many times as necessary for that particular survey type, age group, setting, and language combination.

Informed Assent

It is important that youth program participants know why you are asking them to complete this survey. Be sure to verbally state this information and check to see if anyone has questions. Here is a sample script for informed assent:

Sample Script

"We want to learn more about how well this program works, and that means we need to ask you, the experts, about how your thoughts and opinions may have changed from the beginning to the end of this program. I'll ask you to take a short survey now and again on the last day of the program. We want to learn how your thoughts and behaviors may be different at the end of the program. Both surveys will take just a few minutes. Both surveys are anonymous. That means your name does not go on the surveys and we will never be able to link your answers to you. I will not know which answers are yours, and your teacher/program leader and parents will never see your responses. Your answers will be combined with those from other young people. Both surveys are voluntary. While we hope you will finish both of them, you do not have to participate. You can skip any question you do not want to answer. The information you tell us will be used to help make this program better in the future."

Obtaining Site Permission

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 survey, be sure to let administrators know that this survey and protocol have gone through rigorous review processes by Cornell University's Institutional Review Board. This board has high standards for protecting the privacy, rights, and welfare of participants in research and evaluation projects, and they have approved this survey and protocol.

You may wish to emphasize:

  • PREP is a federally-funded, nationwide initiative, and these surveys are being used with youth participants across the country. Survey responses from NYS youth will be combined with those from around the country as part of the evaluation of the PREP initiative.
  • Surveys are anonymous. Names are never collected with surveys. Program facilitators will not even see individual survey responses, only aggregate data.
  • Individual participation is optional. Parents and youth participants can decide to NOT take the surveys. Youth participants may also skip any questions on the surveys.

The process for obtaining permission differs depending on whether the cycle is being implemented in or outside of New York City public schools.

In sites OUTSIDE New York City public schools:

  1. Discuss the use of surveys with the site administrator or principal. ACT for Youth has developed templates 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.

  2. 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.
  3. If desired by the site, send the parent information/opt-out form (English; Spanish) 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 was granted.

In sites WITHIN New York City public schools:

In New York City public schools, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) requires additional steps.

  1. Discuss the use of surveys with the principal. If you have already completed the fingerprinting/security clearance process through the NYC DOE IRB (see below for more information), then you have permission to distribute surveys in NYC DOE school sites. However, you should still obtain principal permission before distributing surveys to their students.
  2. Have the principal complete the approval to conduct research form, making sure that the school ATS code is included. Send the completed form to your ACT for Youth evaluation contact.
  3. Send the parent information/opt-out form (English; Spanish) 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 you need a copy of the Cornell University or NYC DOE Institutional Review Board letters of exemption/approval, please contact ACT for Youth.

NYC Schools Fingerprinting and Security Clearance

In New York City public schools, the NYC DOE requires anyone who distributes survey links to students to go through the fingerprinting and security clearance process for NYC schools and to be added to the IRB protocol. We provide detailed information on the process:

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