Student Support Card

What is the Upper Bucks Student Support Card (UBSSC)?

Reasons to Celebrate in 2014

  • For the first time since the UBHCHY Coalition began collecting data more youth have more assets than ever recorded before.
  • 50% of youth possess more than 50% of all the 40 assets.
  • 36 out of 40 asset categories have increased since 2002 and 23 have increased since 2012.
  • The asset categories with the largest percentages were: 1) Bonding to School (42%), 2) Youth Given< Useful Roles- (35%), 3) Planning and Decision Making (31%) and High Expectations (31%)
  • Total number of assets possessed by Upper Bucks youth has increased from 17.5 to 20.3- a 16% increase
  • Total percentage of students possessing 20 or more assets has increased from 34% to 50%- a 47% increase.
  • A majority of all youth do not regularly (prior 30-day period) drink alcohol, use marijuana or tobacco – 73%, 84% and 91% respectively.
  • Previous 30-day alcohol use among 10th graders has decreased from baseline of 43% to 27% in 2014 – a 37% reduction.
  • Previous 30-day tobacco use among all youth is at the lowest levels in the past 12 years, (8th graders- 4%, 10th graders- 10%, 12th graders- 13%).
  • Previous 30-day illicit prescription use among all youth is at the lowest levels in the past 6 years – (8th graders- 3%, 10th graders- 5%, 12th graders- 5%).
  • For the first time ever, the highest percentage of youth possessing the Achievement Motivation asset is 76% – the highest level of all the 40 assets.
  • 74% of youth possess a positive view of their future.

Reasons to Stay Connected in 2014

  • After years of decreasing percentages of prior 30-day alcohol use for 8th graders, there is a 25% increase of use for this age group from 10% to 12.5%.
  • Previous binge drinking* rate (31%) for 12th graders, remains at approximately 1 out of every 3 seniors.
  • Previous 30-day marijuana use for both 8th graders (4%) and 12th graders (28%) has increased since the most recent survey in 2012.
  • There is a significant trend of a softening of attitudes regarding the perception of harm of marijuana use across all grade levels which portends future increases in the use of this drug.
  • 98 members of the Class of 2014 have driven a car after drinking within the last year- 49 seniors have driven a car after drinking two or more separate occasions during the same period.
  • 214 members of the Class of 2014 have been a passenger in a car with a driver who has been drinking within the last year- 131 seniors have ridden with an impaired driver two or more times in the same period.
  • 15% of 12th graders report that if they wanted to, it would be easy for them to obtain heroin.
  • Approximately 20% of all youth report that their parents have not set clear rules with them about not using alcohol and all other drugs.
  • 48% of the Class of 2014, (395 youth) have had sexual intercourse and 12% of this group, (47 youth) seldom or never use any contraceptive devices.
  • A total of 13% (358 youth) have attempted to kill themselves at least once and 5% (138 youth) have made two or more attempts.**

Total number of youth surveyed in 2014- 2,755 youth (1%= 28 youth)
*Binge Drinking – Consuming five or more drinks in one sitting in the previous two-week period
**Prior attempts to commit suicide is the number one risk factor for future attempts

What Is the Student Support Card?

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, values and attitudes 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.ubhchy.org. 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!