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Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey logo

Alaska YRBS Information

National YRBS Information

YRBS Results and Data

Program Contacts

3601 C Street, Suite 722
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907)-269-2020
Fax: (907)-269-5446
YRBS@alaska.gov

Tazlina Mannix, MPH
YRBS Data Manager
(907) 269-8107

Gina Agron, MS, MBA
YRBS Coordinator
(907) 269-8030

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Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was first implemented in Alaska in 1995. The Alaska YRBS is an anonymous and voluntary survey of students in grades 9–12 in public schools, including schools that teach students facing higher risks. It is administered throughout the state in odd-numbered years. The survey requires parental consent.

FAQs for Districts and Schools


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SURVEY
  • What if districts, schools, or students choose not to participate?

    YRBS results for the entire state may be affected. We cannot replace or substitute a selected classroom, school, or district that chooses not to participate.
  • Why is the survey administered at school?

    A school-based survey provides a controlled setting under strict standardized guidelines, which is the best way to protect student privacy, ensure anonymity, and collect credible data.
  • Do students answer questions truthfully?

    Research has shown that data of this nature gathered from adolescents are as reliable as data gathered from adults. Data obtained from the YRBS are checked for conflicting and invalid responses. You can help us ensure students answer truthfully by informing parents and students that the survey is important, procedures are in place to protect their privacy, and their participation is anonymous.
ADMINISTERING THE YRBS
  • ​What information can you provide to schools and parents concerned about the YRBS?

    The Alaska YRBS Program provides materials and videos on our resources webpage that may be helpful.
    • Frequently asked questions for parents may be found HERE
    • Partners’ video explaining the importance of YRBS results
    • Student video to help students understand the importance of YRBS results
    • YRBS toolkit for YRBS coordinators (includes information for parents and students)

  • Are there best practices related to active consent procedures?

    Active consent means that a signed permission form is required for a student to participate. Whether your district uses a paper-based or online registration system, a best practice is to include the YRBS permission form in registration packets.
  • Is assistance available to administer the YRBS?

    Yes. We provide survey materials at no cost to schools and districts. Participating schools receive funding to help cover costs associated with survey administration. Organizations that use YRBS data are often interested in assisting school districts and schools with YRBS promotion and/or administration. You may contact us at YRBS@alaska.gov to find out if there is a community partner in your area willing to help.
  • What should we know about scheduling the YRBS with participating schools?

    The YRBS is administered in February and March of odd-numbered years. Districts have flexibility to schedule the survey during a one- to two-week survey window. However, each school must administer the survey on a single day, preferably during a single class period, to ensure students are surveyed only once. We recommend conducting the survey during second period to avoid missing students who arrive late or leave early. We ask every school to select a make-up survey date within one to two weeks of their primary administration date to survey students who have permission and were absent on the primary administration day. The YRBS is completed in one 45-minute class period.
  • Is Alaska considering an online YRBS survey, and will students’ anonymity be protected?

    Alaska is considering moving to a web-based survey to improve the efficiency of our survey administration process. We recognize that Alaska schools conduct academic assessments and other surveys online, and youth are more receptive to online platforms. The methods for administering the YRBS today and in the future will assure responses are anonymous and the resulting information is representative of Alaska’s entire youth population.
  • Can we obtain district-level YRBS results?
    We provide districts in Alaska the option of conducting a district-level survey. District-level results are only released if there are enough student responses to protect student anonymity and ensure high data quality.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please review our website and contact us at YRBS@alaska.gov if you have additional questions about the Alaska YRBS. 

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FAQs for Parents


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SURVEY

  • Are students tracked over time for changes in risk behaviors?
    Individual students cannot be tracked. However, we can look at trends over time in populations of students, such as students overall or students in a certain grade level.
  • How was my student chosen to be in the survey?
    Students are eligible to participate in the survey if they are in a selected class at a selected school. A district may choose a random sample of classes in select schools or may sample all classes in all schools.
  • Why is the survey done at school and not at home?
    A school-based survey provides a controlled setting under strict standardized guidelines, which is the best way to protect student privacy, ensure anonymity, and collect credible data from students.
  • Does the YRBS include questions about sensitive topics?
    Questions related to priority health risk behaviors — the most important health risks affecting youth today — may be considered sensitive. Questions are clear and straightforward manner. Students have the option to skip questions they are uncomfortable answering.
  • Does asking students survey questions about health risk behaviors increase the likelihood that they will practice those behaviors?
    There is no evidence that asking these questions will lead to an increase in the likelihood that youth will practice risky behaviors. To help solve health problems among youth, we need to understand their unique experiences and perspectives. The YRBS provides an anonymous tool to gather that information.
  • Do students answer questions truthfully?
    Research has shown that data of this nature gathered from youth are as reliable as when gathered from adults. Data obtained from the YRBS are checked for conflicting and invalid responses, and surveys that are incomplete are discarded. To obtain truthful answers, students must understand the importance of the survey and know procedures are in place to protect their privacy and allow for anonymous participation.

    You can help us ensure that your child answers truthfully. Students must understand that the survey is important, their privacy protected, and participation is anonymous.
  • Is Alaska moving from paper to online surveys, and would online surveys allow anonymous results and protect students’ privacy?
    Alaska is considering moving to a web-based survey to improve the efficiency of our survey administration process. We recognize that Alaska schools conduct academic assessments and other surveys online, and youth are more receptive to online platforms. The methods for delivering the YRBS surveys today and in the future will assure responses are anonymous and the resulting information is representative of Alaska’s entire youth population.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please review our website and contact us at YRBS@alaska.gov if you have additional questions about the Alaska YRBS. 

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Page last updated 02/26/2020

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