California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)

CalSCHLS Surveys:

A Brief Summary

California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)

The CHKS is a modular, anonymous assessment recommended for students aged 10 and above. It is focused on the five most important areas for guiding school and student improvement:

  • student connectedness, learning engagement/motivation, and attendance;
  • school climate, culture, and conditions;
  • school safety, including violence perpetration and victimization/bullying;
  • physical and mental well-being and social-emotional learning; and
  • student supports, including resilience-promoting developmental factors (caring relationships, high expectations, and meaningful participation).

Demographic data will be collected from all students to help determine the characteristics and representativeness of the sample and identify the needs of vulnerable subgroups.

The surveys (elementary, middle and high schools) typically take students between 20 to 50 minutes to complete. This may be longer depending on certain factors -- reading speed of students, bandwidth speed, skills in navigating the digital survey, etc.

Core Module Expansion. The surveys have been expanded to help districts better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and how best to support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. The first question on the Core Module asks respondents whether students attend school in person every weekday (in-person instructional model), whether they participate in school remotely from home (remote instructional model), or whether they participate in school both remotely and in-person (hybrid instructional model). Based on responses to this question, survey respondents are directed to questions only relevant to their instructional model. The expanded student Core Module measures students' home educational routines, engagement and motivation in educational activities, quality of relationships with teachers and peers, and social emotional well-being. 

CHKS Developmental Framework

Promoting Resilience, Social-Emotional Learning, and Trauma-Informed Support Systems

A unique feature of the CHKS is its strength-based focus and theoretical framework drawn from resilience and youth development research. It assesses three fundamental developmental supports in the school, family, community, and peer-group:

  • positive adult relationships;
  • high expectations (academic and behavioral); and
  • opportunities for meaningful participation and decision-making.

Research links these supports to positive academic, psychosocial, and health outcomes among youth, even in high-risk environments. It also provides data on personal social-emotional strengths or assets associated with these factors. These are protective factors in that they mitigate against the adverse effects of stress, trauma, and other risk factors that youth may have experienced. As illustrated in the figure below, youth who attend schools and communities rich in these three supports are more likely to have their basic developmental needs met, which leads to them:

  • being less engaged in risk behaviors that are barriers to learning and healthy development,
  • feeling more connected to school, and
  • developing the social-emotional competencies or personal strengths that have been linked to school and life success. The results are that youth are more likely to have positive academic, personal, and health outcomes.

Elementary Surveys

Secondary Surveys

Middle School  

High School