FAQs

School districts often have questions as they begin their partnership with Terrace Metrics. The most common questions and answers are provided below. Please do not hesitate to contact Terrace Metric either by e-mail (info@terracemetrics.org) or phone (800-470-4401) should you need additional information or have other questions.

Do schools need to identify students using this assessment?

No. The software has the flexibility to administer the indicators (selected by the schools) without identifying students. Some districts choose this option when first using the system. By first conducting an anonymous, district-wide needs assessment, the data give the district a better understanding of the collective needs of their students. Districts then use this data to determine which community partnerships and resources should be established, prior to using the Terrace Metrics software as designed.

This is an excellent option for districts to appreciate the ease, flexibility, and accuracy of our software in identifying the behavioral health of its students (without needing to identify them).

How long is the assessment?

Ninety-five percent of students, regardless of age, complete the assessment in 15 minutes (97% complete it in 20 minutes).  Our system can be translated immediately into different languages, and slow/poor readers can select the voice-to-text option and have the items and scoring options read to them.

Do the indicators have norms and scoring options?

Yes. All indicators are validated at the appropriate ages (8-18+) and have norms. In fact, our indicators have been administered to students over 10,000 at minimum (some have been administered over 100,000 times). No indicator is incorporated in the survey unless it has strong psychometric evidence (including high reliability, temporal stability, and construct validity). Virtually all indicators are supported by at least three peer-reviewed publications. Scoring options are readily understood by children and adolescents.

Is the survey compatible with commonly-accepted multi-tiered intervention models?

Yes. The survey (indeed, the entire system) was designed to help educators apply the findings to multi-tiered systems of supports. Terrace Metrics provides templates, examples, and consultation services to help schools understand how the findings can and have been used to generate Tier 1 (school wide), Tier 2 (group-specific) and Tier 3 (individual-focused) evidence-based, strategies.  Given the temporal stability of the indicators, schools have used the survey to measure progress respective to these tiers over time.

Do districts/schools have access to the survey questions?

Yes. Terrace Metrics does not own the assessment questions (they have proprietary rights to the algorithm, reports, and resources that stem from the responses). The questions themselves are provided to licensed mental health professional associated with the school upon request.

What are some examples of items that are administered to students?

Global Satisfaction

  • I have a good life
  • My life is just right

Positive School Experiences

  • I am encouraged by my teachers to do my best
  • I enjoy my school experiences

Grit

  • Setbacks don’t discourage me
  • I finish whatever I begin

Hope

  • When I have a problem, I can come up with lots of ways to solve it

Leadership

  • Peers come to me to discuss their problems
  • When I see someone doing something nice, I will compliment them

Academic Standards

  • I set very high standards for myself
  • I have a strong need to strive for excellence

Bullying [students receive a commonly accepted definition of what constitutes “bullying”]

  • Since you have been in school this year [since the last survey], have you been bullied by others?
  • [if ‘yes’] how often have you….[list the frequency of different types of bullying]

Ostracism

  • Others treat me as if I am invisible

School Violence Screener

  • [since school began-frequency of getting in a fight at school]
  • I need to use a lot of self-control to keep out of trouble

Drug-Alcohol Screener

  • [in past 12 months, frequency of drug/alcohol use]
  • Do your family or friends ever tell you that you should cut down on your drinking or drug use?

Trauma Screener

  • [positive endorsement of an unusually or especially frightening, horrible, or traumatic event]
  • [in past month] tried hard not to think about the event(s) or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of the event(s)?

Do schools have to use all the indicators every time they administer the assessment?

No. The choice of indicators is entirely up to the district and schools. Schools typically use the system twice per year (once in the early fall semester, and then again late in the spring semester). They administer the entire assessment in the fall to understand areas of strength and areas that are relatively low. This information allows schools to focus their interventions accordingly. In the spring administration, schools select only those indicators found lacking in the fall administration.

Do all students have to take the assessment at the same time?

No. In fact, we caution against this approach. In contrast to statewide educational testing (where all students are tested within a small timeframe), it is important that schools have sufficient time to digest the data and to meet with students who are identified as needing resources.  We strongly recommend that schools stagger the administration schedule so as not to overwhelm their resources (which in smaller schools can be quite limited). A Terrace Metrics Administrator will provide training and materials on the best way to stagger a school’s administration schedules.

Can the survey data be incorporated with attendance and behavioral scores?

Yes. The raw data is owned by the district, not Terrace Metrics. Terrace Metrics only requires student identification numbers as a means with which to generate information back to schools. Schools can easily take the data and merge them with other school indicators.

Is there an action plan that can be used after testing?

Yes. Terrace Metrics has free templates that can be used by schools, and (for a minimal fee) can customize action plans as well

Are the videos and comprehensive curriculum part of the package?

Yes. Each indicator has an accompanying video that is specific to educators and parents (respectively). These 3-5 minute videos provide readily accessible, empirically-based suggestions on steps that educators/parents can take to increase a specific resiliency score, and decrease or address a specific risk score.

The curriculum is directly tied to the assessment, which is appropriate for use at the Tier I and Tier 2 levels. Schools use the assessment to identify areas of strength, as well as areas that are relatively low.  They then can use specific curriculum modules as a school-wide, classroom-wide or small-group intervention plan to promote these areas.

How do schools address students identified as being ‘at risk’?

We have established a 5-level response system that we train all response teams in a school district (typically, each school’s team consists of counselors, social worker, nurses, etc.) as well as their mental health partner (if applicable). This response system helps team members know which student should be seen sooner than others.

A huge selling point is that this can really inform counselors but, but the materials target educators. Why?

Districts are understanding that it takes all hands to improve students’ behavioral health. Since the system is designed to address the needs of every student (not just those brought to the attention of a counselor), it is important that educators have knowledge and tools to enhance resiliency/reduce risk in their classrooms. Which is why our videos and curriculum targets educators rather than counselors.

Is there someone from Terrace Metrics who can help the school should they have questions?

Yes. Every district has a Terrace Metric Administrator who is available for questions and consultation at any time.  These conversations can occur by secured internet web services, telephone, text, or even in person.

How can we be confident that the system is valid?

Very confident. Please see our white paper on our website for more information. Every two years, Terrace Metrics seeks partners to volunteer deidentified academic and behavioral data. (The data is matched by student identification numbers only). For example, 2019 data collected from over 24,000 students in grades 3-12 found that for every step downward in the behavioral health curriculum, GPA decreased by approximately 10%, standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, MAP) were reduced by as much as 15%, and there were significant increases in behavioral difficulties (e.g., classroom disruptions, tardies, absences).  These findings were quite similar to data collected from over 20,000 students in 2017.

How long does it take to be trained on the software and the process?

Less than 45 minutes. A Terrace Metrics Administrator will guide the district and school through the software, activating the system while doing so. The training is flexible; it can be conducted in person or via secured internet link. In addition, there are training videos and other resources that District and School Champions can review at their leisure. The software itself is easy to learn and use and is quite intuitive for users.

How does Terrace Metrics maintain data security?

Data security is of the highest importance at Terrace Metrics.  Although simple to use, the software is a closed system (not linked to any other system), encrypts information, and is monitored extensively.  All data is stored on secured servers and is backed up daily. In addition, the assessment site does not contain identifiable information and parents must answer several security questions in order to access the student report.

What is the system not designed to do?

Diagnose. The assessment is never meant to replace more intensive diagnostic procedures commonly provided in clinics, hospitals, or community agencies.  Data from the assessment is meant to provide information to schools and parents, which can inform Tier I (prevention) and Tier II (supplement supportive) efforts. Many parents have taken the results of the assessment to their child’s primary care physician or other specialist, for the purpose of starting important conversations on next steps.

Who owns the identified data?

Districts own their data.  Terrace Metrics will never release or sell identified or deidentified data to third-party businesses.

Who designed Terrace Metrics and why?

Terrace Metrics was created by licensed psychologists, educators, and experts in behavioral health, social-emotional learning, and curriculum development. The system was designed because there was no comprehensive behavioral health assessment system was available that was affordable to schools, valid, easy to use, and could identify the strengths and needs of students from grades 3 through adult over time.

Are districts and schools able to provide input on the system?

The flexibility and user-friendliness of the software and process is based on feedback from school districts and communities.  Terrace Metrics treats every school district as if it is their only partner, and thus feedback is highly sought from Terrace Metrics during and after the process is completed. This feedback is incorporated into the next upgrade.