Who participated and what was involved?
In schools that were sampled to participate in the survey, all Year 4, 6 or 8 students (depending which year level the school was sampled for) were invited to take part. Once informed consent was obtained from guardians and children, the students were asked to respond to the survey during normal school hours and under the supervision of school staff.
The ACWP survey was individually administered online through a computer or tablet. It was inclusive of all students and assistance was available if required. The survey took about 20-30 minutes to complete and it was possible to log out and back in if not completed in one sitting. Links were also provided to Lifeline, beyondblue, and Kids Helpline.
How were service providers involved in the ACWP?
Service providers assisted the ACWP by supporting the research team in the recruitment of children and young people aged between 8 and 14 years for the initial qualitative phase of the project. This involved group workshops and/or interviews during the first half of 2013. The support from these organisations included publicising this opportunity to children and families who access the service and providing them with the contact details for researchers. It also involved talking to young people and their families about the project.
Our thanks go to the service providers that assisted in the qualitative work of the research.
This support allowed the research team to draw on a diverse range of children’s perspectives to inform the design of Australia’s first major nationally representative and internationally comparable survey of wellbeing among young people aged 8-14 years. In this way, service providers assisted the research team – and policymakers, service providers, and schools – to understand Australian young people’s wellbeing and what they need.
How were schools involved in ACWP
A large number of primary and secondary schools (about 180) across all jurisdictions and school sectors participated in the survey. The extent to which the findings of this study can be considered nationally representative depended on a high response rate from the sampled schools. The success of ACWP depended on the good will of Australian students, parents and schools and the project team are very grateful for the generous participation of schools and students. The survey asked students about their family and economic circumstances, their relationships with family and peers, their health, school life, communities, and aspirations. The survey focused on students from Years 4, 6 and 8.
The Field Trial (Term 1 2014): Approximately 24 schools in New South Wales and Victoria were invited to participate in the field trial of the quantitative survey in Term 1 of 2014. This resulted in about 300 children in Years 4, 6 and 8 being invited to take part in the pilot of the online instrument. The online survey was designed to be child friendly and mindful of the range of skills and abilities within these age groups. Analysis of the pilot survey responses by ACER and the research team at UNSW and Flinders University was used to finalise the survey.
The Main Survey (Term 3 2014): For the main survey, all students from the identified year levels in 180 primary and secondary schools (Government, Catholic and Independent) across all jurisdictions were invited to take part. The sample of schools was selected to provide sufficiently large samples of young people from the six groups of specific interest to the ACWP, namely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, culturally and linguistically diverse young people, young people with disability, young people in regional and remote Australia, economically disadvantaged young people, and young people in out-of-home care. This enabled us to understand the diverse views and experiences of young people in these groups. The survey was administered in schools under the direction of teachers and school staff with the support of ACER and the research team where needed. The main survey phase took place in Term 3 2014.
Participating schools were asked to support the research team by publicising the survey among students and their parents/carers. Appropriate informed consent was obtained from parents and young people prior to their being asked to respond to the survey, which was interactive and of about 20-30 minutes duration.
Schools were responsible for the administration of the survey in their school and support from the ACWP project team was provided in various ways during this time. The adm
inistration of the survey did not require any specific test conditions, and it was possible for students to complete the survey iteratively, logging in and out as required.
Participating schools received a school summary report with their results in terms of the wellbeing of students in the middle years in their school. It is hoped that the research provides important information about how young people in ‘the middle years’ understand their own wellbeing and how their experiences and needs differ across different groups. Click to view an example customised School Report.
How was government involved in ACWP?
The research team is grateful for the support of four Federal Government partners:
Department of Education
Department of Social Services
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Who can still get involved in ACWP?
The research team would like to hear from any Federal Government agencies and Universities interested in the research and/or conducting work in the area of children’s wellbeing.
State and territory Governments: The research team has been engaging with state and territory governments throughout the duration of the project. We understand that there are a number of ongoing activities concerning children’s wellbeing taking place across states and territories at present. The research team is keen to meet with agencies in states and territories and discuss our mutual interest in understanding and measuring the wellbeing of young people in their middle years, and to discuss possible opportunities to work together to this end while avoiding any duplication of activity. The team is also very interested in consulting and collaborating with state government agencies when approaching educational jurisdictional authorities and subsequently schools in each State.
Local Governments: The research team is partnering with a number of agencies and organisations that have contact with children and young people through services or youth programs in the qualitative phase of the study. In particular, the research team is building partnerships with these agencies and organisations to assist in the recruitment of a diverse range of young people for the qualitative work, and in the design and conduct of the research with young people. The research team welcomes contact from local government agencies working with children and young people.
Universities: The results of the research are published in a series of reports on different phases of the project. These are available on the Research Findings page. More importantly, the full ACWP database and supporting Technical Report are publicly available on the ACWP Database. Academics and Post-Graduate research students in the areas of mental health, psychology, child development, or education, are invited to undertake secondary data analyses and publish their findings.
If you are interested in talking with the research team to discuss how your organisation can undertake further analyses or collaborate, please contact us.