COMPASS collects data at three levels: (1) the student level, (2) the school level, through the administrator, and (3) the built environment, through observations of the school's facilities and surrounding structures.
1) Student questionnaire
Eligible and consenting students in grades 9-12 from participating schools and who also have parental consent will be asked to complete the COMPASS questionnaire.
- it is completed during regular class time
- takes approximately 40 minutes to complete
- available in English, French
Core questions allow us to properly define basic health indicators such as:
- tobacco use, cannabis use, alcohol use, vaping, opioid use
- physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep
- eating behaviour
- weight status and perceptions
- mental health (depression, anxiety, emotional regulation, flourishing)
Correlate questions allow us to better understand the context of these behaviours among youth, by asking about:
- awareness of school policies
- academic achievement
- school connectedness
- other issues that may affect changes in the student's health and/or behaviours over time (e.g., bullying)
For a copy of the COMPASS student questionnaire please contact Scott Leatherdale.
2) School policies and practices (SPP) questionnaire
The SPP is a school-level questionnaire aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of existing school policies as they pertain to student health while identifying limitations of current school policy that can be addressed with the aim of improving the health of students. The questionnaire will also identify experimental policies and practices that schools have created on their own initiative that may be of value to other schools in Ontario. The SPP will ask questions regarding various health topic areas such as: physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, tobacco use, and drug and alcohol use.
The SPP is administered at the same time as the student questionnaire each year; this will allow us to see whether any changes have been made to existing policies, programs, and resources since the previous COMPASS survey administration. This 35-minute questionnaire is completed by a school staff member or school administrator who is most familiar with the school's health related policies and programs, but it is encouraged to involve one or more other persons from the school community who are knowledgeable about school policies and programs (e.g., tobacco and drug control policy, physical activity guidelines, breakfast programs, etc.) in completing the assessment.
3) Observations of the built environment
On the day of survey administration, COMPASS staff, with permission from the school administration, will record observations about the school’s existing indoor and outdoor facilities related to healthy eating and physical activity. This includes bicycle racks, football/soccer fields, gymnasiums, cafeterias, vending machines, etc.
During data analysis COMPASS staff will use specialized computer software to determine characteristics of the built environment that immediately surrounds the school, such as the existence of fast-food outlets, convenience stores, and public parks and sports arenas. This will help us understand whether, or to what extent, aspects of the physical environment are related to youth health. For example, is the density of public parks and recreational arenas surrounding a school related to the weekly amount of vigorous or moderate physical activity that youth report?
How results from the questionnaires will be used
Results from the student questionnaire and the SPP will be reported to the school in the form of a School Health Profile. This document will allow school administrators to see whether their school policies, practices, and resources, or any changes made to them, have resulted in improved health of the students. The School Health Profile also indicates areas of youth health that might have been overlooked during previous policy and program planning.
The School Health Profile will be the key to mobilizing positive action to make school environments even better.
The data we obtain about the built environment surrounding a school will be compared to student health data, to determine if any relationships exist. For example, is the density of convenience stores surrounding a school related to student obesity?