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California Healthy Kids Survey

The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a comprehensive youth self-report data collection system that addresses school climate, health risks and behaviors, and youth resiliency.

About the CHKS

The CHKS is an anonymous, confidential survey of youth resiliency, protective factors and risk behaviors. It is administered to students at grades five, seven, nine and eleven. It enables schools and communities to collect and analyze data regarding local youth health risks and behaviors, school connectedness, protective factors, and school violence. The CHKS is part of a comprehensive data-driven decision-making process on improving school climate and student learning environment for overall school improvements. 

The CHKS is a companion tool to the California School Climate Survey (CSCS) for staff, and the California School Parent Survey (CSPS) for parents. Together, they form the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (Cal-SCHLS) System External link opens in new window or tab. .

At the heart of the CHKS is a research-based core module that provides valid indicators of students’ drug and alcohol use, school violence, and resiliency and youth development.

In addition, there are supplementary modules to choose from at the secondary school level that ask detailed questions on specific topics. These include more in-depth questions on resiliency and protective factors; tobacco use; drug use and violence; physical health and nutrition; sexual behavior; after school activities; gang awareness; service learning; closing the achievement gap, and military connected school. Districts can also customize their questions in a custom module targeting topics of local interest.

In 2010-11, a new module was created to collect data on school climate to support the federal Safe and Supportive Schools grant received by CDE. This module would allow districts and schools to collect data on various school climate factors that are known to affect student academic achievements. More information is available at Safe and Supportive Schools.   

Survey Requirement

As a funding condition, districts receiving Tobacco-Use Prevention Education (TUPE) and S3 funding are required to conduct the biennial CHKS.

TUPE grantees are required to conduct the CHKS Core Module biennially at grades seven, nine, and eleven.  Any TUPE grantee only serving students in grades kindergarten through six must conduct the CHKS elementary module in grade five.

Districts that participate in the data collection phase of the S3 program are required to conduct the three surveys of Cal-SCHLS in 2010-11 and 2013-14 among all its high schools at grades nine and eleven. High schools that received a S3 grant must conduct the three surveys of Cal-SCHLS among all grades in 2011-13.    

Parent Consent

California Education Code sections 51513 and 51938(b) specify that parent consent be granted before students are given questionnaires or surveys asking about personal beliefs or practices that include health behavior and risks. There are two kinds of parent consent: passive and active.

Active Consent requires that a parent or legal guardian be notified in writing and gives written permission for the student to participate in the survey. Active consent is required of the fifth grade CHKS survey, and is optional for seventh grade and up.

Passive Consent requires that a parent or legal guardian be notified in writing about the survey and is given the opportunity to review the survey. Parents need to notify the school if they do not want their child to participate in the survey. Passive consent is optional for grades seven through twelve.

Regardless of which consent option is selected, the school board must formally adopt, in consultation with parents, a consent policy for the administration of the CHKS.

More information about parent consents is available at CHKS External link opens in new window or tab. .

Sample Consent Letters and Forms

Active Consent

CHKS Active Consent Letter (English) (DOC) | PDF
Available Translations of CHKS Active Consent Letter
The active consent letter is distributed to parents explaining the nature of the Survey.

CHKS Active Consent Form for Elementary School (English) (DOC)
Available Translations of CHKS Active Consent Form for Elementary Schools
The active consent form is distributed to parents of elementary school students informing them of the Survey.

CHKS Active Consent Form for Middle School (English) (DOC)
Available Translations of CHKS Active Consent Form for Middle Schools
The active consent form is distributed to parents of middle school students informing them of the Survey.

CHKS Active Consent Form for High School (English) (DOC)
Available Translations of CHKS Active Consent Form for High Schools
The active consent form is distributed to parents of high school students informing them of the Survey.

Passive Consent

CHKS Passive Consent Letter (English) (DOC) | PDF
Available Translations of the CHKS Passive Consent Letter
The passive consent letter is distributed to parents explaining the nature of the Survey.

CHKS Passive Consent Form for Middle School (English) (DOC)
Available Translations of CHKS Passive Consent Form for Middle Schools
The passive consent form is distributed to parents of middle school students informing them of the Survey.

CHKS Passive Consent Form for High School (English) (DOC)
Available Translations of CHKS Passive Consent Form for High Schools
The passive consent form is distributed to parents of high school students informing them of the Survey.

CHKS Reports

CHKS Survey Reports are available in district, county and statewide level.

Query CHKS

Query CHKS is a new collaborative project between CDE, WestEd and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health and its kidsdata.org External link opens in new window or tab. Web site. Query CHKS External link opens in new window or tab. allow users to generate tables, maps, graphs, and charts comparing key CHKS data among district, county and with the state.

Technical Assistance for School Districts

The CDE contracts with WestEd to assist districts in administering the CHKS and the other two companion surveys. WestEd provides training and technical assistance to districts through three regional survey centers, a toll-free phone line at 888-841-7536, free online training, and the CHKS External link opens in new window or tab. Web site.

To get more information or to sign up for CHKS, contact your CHKS Regional Survey Center at 1-888-841-7536 or visit the CHKS External link opens in new window or tab. Web site for more information.

CHKS and Academic Achievement

Healthy students learn better. Research has shown that meeting the basic developmental needs of students by ensuring that they are safe, drug-free, healthy, and resilient is central to improving their academic performance. Research studies and reviews over the past decade have consistently concluded that student health status and achievement are inextricably intertwined.

The documents below describe research on the link between health status and student achievement and discuss how incorporating health and prevention programs into school improvement efforts can produce positive achievement gains.

Ensuring that No Child Is Left Behind External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This non-technical report has shown that meeting the basic developmental needs of students, ensuring that they are safe, drug-free, healthy, and resilient is central to improving their academic performance.

Using the CHKS to Help Improve Schools and Student Achievement External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This document explains how the CHKS can be used to help improve schools and student achievement. It briefly describes survey content and rationale, and provides a short synopsis of recent research linking health with achievement.

Factsheet 1: Health Risks, Resilience, and the Academic Performance Index External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This brief report describes how schools where students are low in health risk factors and high in protective factors have higher API scores than other schools. This report is based on the longer report described under Health and Achievement, below.

Factsheet 3: Are Student Health Risks and Low Resilience Assets an Impediment to the Academic Progress of Schools? External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This report describes how health risk and resilience are longitudinally related to subsequent changes in standardized test scores. The results indicate that health risk and low levels of resilience assets impede the progress of schools in raising test scores.

Factsheet 8: The Achievement Gap, School Well-Being, and Learning Supports External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
The factsheet summarizes a study of how academic performance and school well-being vary by the racial/ethnic composition of schools. The results show that both academic performance and school well-being were lowest in schools with large proportions of African American and Hispanic students, as well as in low-income schools.

Factsheet 9: Racial/Ethnic Differences in School Performance, Engagement, Safety, and Supports External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This factsheet describes how 17, school-based CHKS indicators covering these areas differed significantly across eight racial/ethnic groups of secondary students. Overall, White and Asian students reported the most positive outcomes, and African American and Latino students had the least positive outcomes in regard to school performance, engagement, and safety. Latinos were the lowest of all groups in school developmental supports; African-Americans, in school connectedness and safety. The results demostrate that underlying the Achievement Gap, there are also gaps in school engagement, safety, and supports that need to be addressed.

Workbook for Improving School Climate, 2nd Edition External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 5MB)
This workbook is meant to help school communities interpret and use data from the CHKS, and the companion staff and parent surveys. It is designed to assist local school community members in their efforts to close the racial/ethnic achievement gap and to strengthen special education, migrant education, and other educational services for culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse students.

Questions: Hilva Chan | hchan@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0194 
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