Student Support Card
What is the Upper Bucks Student Support Card (UBSSC)?
- 2012 Student Support Card Card (8.2 MB pdf)
First, a few points on what it is not. The UBSSC does not measure proficiency in reading, writing, or mathematics. The UBSSC does not measure SAT scores or Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores. Instead, it measures the quality and the quantity of support that young people feel in their lives. These measures of social and emotional health, show how much external support youth feel from their school, family, faith community, other adults, and community.
It also measures internal strengths such as character and personality traits, that compel each student to make positive, healthy decisions. The UBSSC gives each teacher, youth program professional, parent, guardian, neighbor, and public official a tool to understand what kinds of supports young people need to be successful. The data contained in the UBSSC is derived from a bi-annual 156-question survey called the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors.” Search Institute, a research organization based in Minneapolis, MN, developed the survey instrument and coined the term “Developmental Assets®.”
The UBSSC is not a gauge to judge what is lacking. Rather, it is a strength-based measure to find out what supports do exist, and build upon that foundation. It is, most importantly, an assessment not only of our youth and their perceptions, but also of our communities that comprise Upper Bucks County. It is a clarion call for each of us to get involved in the lives of the youth in our midst. The UBSSC shows that the more assets and supports a young person has, the more likely he/she is to succeed in school, make wise choices in regards to their mental, emotional and physical health and accept the values and beliefs of people from different cultures. Also the more likely they will be able to remain alcohol and drug-free, and be able to practice what are called “refusal skills” when faced with dangerous situations.
Why is this important?
The UBSSC shows the level of Developmental Assets our youth have and the relationship and correlation between asset levels and risk behaviors and thriving behaviors. The UBSSC shows that we all (i.e. parents, extended family, community members, schools, faith community leaders, neighbors, coaches, business leaders, etc.) can impact the levels of assets possessed by youth. For too long, focus has been put upon educational organizations and other professionals to “fix” the problems experienced by many youth. While school districts are being held to increasing challenging academic benchmarks mandated by the state and federal governments, the UBSSC tracks the progress we are making in regards to a young person’s social and emotional health. We know that academic learning increases if a student’s social and emotional life is healthy. Schools cannot do this alone. We all must do our part to ensure that young people are ready for school and are supported in making the right choices. The research is quite clear, and has finally confirmed what we have known all along, KIDS NEED US – ALL OF US./
What to do?
Consider getting involved with the Upper Bucks Healthy Communities Healthy Youth Coalition (UBHCHY). For a list of regular meetings, you can go to www.justcommunity.com. You can also simply do your part by intentionally establishing more relationships with young people in and around your life. Share with them the facts you learned by reading the UBSSC. Ultimately, the name of the game is RELATIONSHIPS!
Reasons to Celebrate
- 36 out of 40 asset categories have increased since 2002.
- The asset categories with the largest percentage increases were: 1) Parent Involvement (41%), 2) Youth Given Useful Roles (39%), 3) Caring School Climate (31%), 4) Bonding to School (28%), and 5) Planning and Decision-making (23%)
- Total number of assets possessed by youth since 2002 has increased from 17.5 to 19.6- a 12% increase.
- Total % of students possessing 20 or more assets has increased from 34% to 44%- a 29% increase.
- A majority of all youth do not regularly use (prior 30-day period) alcohol, tobacco or marijuana-71%, 88% and 84% respectively.
- Previous 30-day alcohol use among 8th graders has decreased from baseline of 18% to 10% in 2012 -a 44% reduction.
- Previous 30-day tobacco use among 8th graders has decreased from baseline of 9% to 4% in 2012 -a 56% reduction.
- Previous 30-day marijuana use among 8th graders has decreased from baseline of 7% to 3% in 2012 -a 57% reduction.
- 77% of youth report it is important to them to stand up for their beliefs even if their position is unpopular.
- 77% of youth possess a positive view of their future- an all-time high since data collection began in 2002.
Reasons to Stay Connected
- After years of decreasing percentages of prior 30-day alcohol use for both 10th and 12th graders, there has been an increase for both groups- 10th grade use is up from 29% to 31% and 12th grade use is up from 40% to 46%.
- Previous 30-day alcohol use among 12th graders has increased from baseline to 46% in 2012 after an all-time low of 40% in 2010 – a 15% increase.
- Previous 30-day marijuana use among all grade levels has increased since the most recent survey in 2010, reflecting a national trend of a softening of attitudes regarding the perception of harm of marijuana use.
- 103 members of the Class of 2012 have driven a car after drinking within the last year- 43 seniors have driven a car after drinking on two or more separate occasions during the same period.
- 214 members of the Class of 2012 have been a passenger in a car within the last year with a driver who has been drinking- 111 seniors have ridden with an impaired driver two or more times in the same period.
- 12% of the Class of 2012 (102 youth) report using a prescription drug within the prior 30-day period that was not prescribed to them by a doctor.
- 37% of all youth report that their parents have not discussed with them the dangers of using someone else’s prescription medication and have not set clear rules with them about this issue.
- 49% of the Class of 2012, (418 youth) have had sexual intercourse and 15% (63 youth) of this group, seldom or never use any contraceptive devices.
- A total of 12% (325 youth) have attempted to kill themselves at least once and 4% (108 youth) have made two or more attempts.*
* Prior attempts to commit suicide is the number one risk factor for future attempts
Total number of youth surveyed in 2012- 2,711 youth (1%= 27 youth)
Below is a list of the 40 developmental assets:
1. Family Support - Family life provides high levels of love and support
2. Positive family communication – Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s).
3. Other adult relationships – Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
4. Caring neighborhood – Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5. Caring school climate – School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6. Parent involvement in schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
7. Community values youth – Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. Youth as resources – Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9. Service to others – Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10. Safety – Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.
Boundaries and Expectations
11. Family boundaries – Family has clear rules and consequences, and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
12. School boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.
13. Neighborhood boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
14. Adult role models – Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15. Positive peer influence – Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
16. High expectations – Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
Constructive Use of Time
17. Creative activities – Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
18. Youth programs – Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community organizations.
19. Religious community – Young person spends one hour or more per week in activities in a religious institution.
20. Time at home – Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.
Commitment to Learning
21. Achievement motivation – Young person is motivated to do well in school.
22. School engagement – Young person is actively engaged in learning.
23. Homework – Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
24. Bonding to school - Young person cares about her or his school.
25. Reading for pleasure – Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
26. Caring – Young person places high value on helping other people.
27. Equality and social justice – Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28. Integrity – Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
29. Honesty – Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”
30. Responsibility – Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31. Restraint – Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.
32. Planning and decision-making – Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33. Interpersonal competence – Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
34. Cultural competence – Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35. Resistance skills – Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36. Peaceful conflict resolution – Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
37. Personal power – Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
38. Self-esteem – Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
39. Sense of purpose – Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
40. Positive view of personal future – Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.