About the Indicator:
The Developmental Assets framework was devised by the Search Institute* to identify skills and behaviors that contribute to positive adolescent development. Survey questions were generated and grouped to compose a series of scales to assess such development. For the Minnesota Student Survey (MSS), questions were added to facilitate analysis of the following scales: Social Competency, Positive Identity, and Empowerment (please visit SUMN.org for additional fact sheets).
The Positive Identity Scale comprises 6 subsets of a question included on the Minnesota Student Survey as follows:
In general, how does each of the following statements describe you?
- I feel in control of my life and future
- I feel good about myself
- I feel good about my future
- I deal with disappointment without getting too upset
- I find ways to deal with the things that are hard in my life
- I am thinking about what my purpose is in life
Modifications to the Search Institute scale were made for 5th graders on the first and last questions on the MSS. They were written as:
- I can shape and influence what happens in my life and future
- I think about what I want to do with my life when I grow up
The response options to these statements were, “Not at all or rarely,” “Somewhat or sometimes,” “Very or often,” and “Extremely or almost always.” These responses were assigned a numerical score of 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Students with a total score of 18 or more (an average of 3 or higher for the 6 questions) are considered by this scale to have a high level of positive identity.
A new method of analysis was introduced in 2019, to create consistency across agencies. Prior year data has been changed. For more information about the change, or for help in comparing your community's data, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Items used and adapted with permission from Search Institute (2004). The Developmental Assets Profile. Minneapolis: Author. Copyright© 2004 by Search Institute (www.search-institute.org). All rights reserved.
Minnesota Student Survey (MSS)
Description: The MSS is a confidential and anonymous self-administered survey given to students attending Minnesota public, charter and tribal schools. From 1995 to 2010, the survey was administered to students in 6th, 9th, and 12th grades. New in 2013, the survey was administered to students in 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grades. Trend data are now only available for 9th graders, and only for survey questions that did not change. Most schools elect to participate in the survey; in 2013, this included 84% of public schools in Minnesota.
Although the data are not presented here, the survey is also administered to area learning centers, juvenile correction facilities and private schools electing to participate.
Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Education
Geographic Level: State, Region, and County
Aggregated data at the state and county level do not reveal disparities that may exist within a given geographic area.
Frequency: Data collected and reported every three years
Characteristics: The results of the MSS are also available at a county level. Data Privacy requirements mandate that data is presented in a manner such that no individual student can be identified through the presentation of the results. As part of the Data Privacy practices, the results are also presented in a manner that no individual school district could be identified through the results. Therefore, for counties that have only one school district, the results are not presented. Results are also withheld for counties in which the minimum number for student participation was not met.
The MSS is a “census” of schools, not a sample. The school districts get their own data. Fifth-graders were not asked all substance use questions. Some school districts do not participate, and student participation within the school district can vary widely. These data are self-reported.