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Developmental Etiology of Externalizing Problems

2024 Arizona Youth Survey

Registration for the Spring 2024 AYS administration is now open.

To enroll:

Details about the Survey

The Arizona Youth Survey (AYS) is administered every two years to a statewide sample of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade youth under the direction of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission Statistical Analysis Center and in partnership with the Arizona State University School of Criminology & Criminal Justice. The survey asks students about engagement in substance use and problem behaviors at school and elsewhere (e.g., fighting, bullying, truancy, vaping marijuana).  It also assesses more than 20 different risk and protective factors associated with these problem behaviors (e.g., victimization at school, school bonding, affiliation with deviant peers/gangs). To view the survey, click this link.

The survey can be administered in schools using an opt-out parental consent procedure, which is described under exemption D.5. of the Parental Bill of Rights (AZ statue 15-117). However, schools can also choose to administer the survey to students using opt-in parental consent. The links to the different consent options are included below. 

The survey can be administered to students in a single class period either online or using paper copies. Student participation is voluntary and anonymous, and schools will receive a free confidential report summarizing the characteristics of their student population relative to state-wide norms.  Click on the following to watch a brief AYS video describing the administration procedures and benefits for schools.

Benefits of participation:

  • Confidential school-level reports can help inform the development of programs and policies designed to improve student success at your school.
  • District superintendents that enroll multiple schools will receive a confidential report outlining relative strengths and challenges among students across the entire school district.
  • The reports can help schools and local agencies justify the need for grant-funded prevention programs.
  • Free consultation is provided to aid with report interpretation and subsequent program planning.

For more information on the AYS, visit ACJC's website. If you have any questions, please contact Savanna Allen at or 602-496-9413.

Example Reports:

Frequently Asked Questions

During the Spring semester of 2024, the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, on behalf of the State of Arizona, will conduct a biennial survey of Arizona 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students to collect information regarding underage substance use and problem behaviors.  The data will be collected by Arizona State University.  The data will be used to assist in the planning and monitoring of prevention and intervention programming in our schools and communities.

What is the focus of the 2024 Arizona Youth Survey?

The AYS is based on the Communities that Care survey, developed by researchers at the University of Washington. The focus is to better understand the prevalence and frequency of problematic youth behaviors – such as substance use, gang involvement, and the risk and protective factors associated with these behaviors.

Do parents need to provide active consent?

The AYS is able to use passive parent consent. AZ Statute 15-117 Section D.5 specifies that the AYS can still be administered in schools without signed parental permission as long as 7 days prior to administration: 1) Parents are informed about the survey administration and are given access to an electronic copy of the survey, and 2) They have the ability to opt their child out of participating. Therefore, schools will send home "opt-out" forms at least 7 days prior to administration and parents can sign and return it if they do not want their child to participate. Alternatively, schools are able to choose to use active consent if they wish.

What kinds of questions are asked?

The survey includes questions related to alcohol, tobacco, other drug use, problem behaviors and related risk and protective factors. Collecting this information directly from the student provides us with measures of these behaviors that are not available from any other data source.

Why should my school participate?

The AYS gathers information on the individual and environmental factors affecting your students. The data will allow you to better understand the needs of your students, can inform risk and protective factor prevention planning, and assess whether these approaches lead to better outcomes, such as reductions in substance use, problem behaviors, and improved academic outcomes.

Your school will receive a summary report describing your school’s data, along with stateside results for comparison. If your school participated in the 2020 or 2022 AYS, the report will include data allowing you to track trends over time. This information is provided to your school at no cost.

Are any other schools participating in this survey? 

Yes, schools from around the state are expected to participate in the survey.  In 2022, 301 schools participated.

What will my school be asked to do?

The survey is administered in a school classroom setting by the school teacher.  The school will be provided with all necessary materials for completing the survey, including teacher instructions and a written script to be read to students at the beginning of the class that explains the purpose and voluntary nature of the survey.  

Also, we provide your school with a standard letter to notify parents of the survey and allows parents to request that their child not participation. 

What if a student does not wish to participate?

Student participation is completely voluntary. A script will be read to the students prior to the survey that informs students that their participation is voluntary.  They are also advised that they may skip any question that they do not want to answer.  We recommend that students who decline participation in the AYS receive an alternate activity to do while the survey is conducted.

Is student participation anonymous?

Yes. The survey does not ask for any identifiable information and students are reminded that they should not write their name on the survey prior to administration. When completing the survey, students should be arranged so their answers cannot be seen by the teacher administering the survey or by any other students. At the end of the class, survey booklets are placed in an envelope to be sealed by final student.

What will my students be asked to do? 

Students will be asked to complete a self-administered survey during one class period at school. The student will be asked to read each question and select a response from a list of pre-identified responses.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

The survey will take many students a full class period to complete, approximately 45-50 minutes.

Is the survey available online?

Yes. Schools that choose to administer the survey online will receive a URL address two weeks prior to their administration date and all students will use this address to access the survey.

When will the survey be conducted?

January 24th – May 17th, 2024

Do all students in a school have to participate at the same time?

No, the survey can be administered at any time during your school’s administration date.

Do schools have to select an administration date? 

Yes. All schools have materials prepared specifically for them that is mailed to them three weeks prior to administration.  This includes the letter to parents that should be sent home one week prior to administration.  Each school participating online will have a separate link to use for participation, so we need to know when to activate and deactivate your survey.

Can my school schedule to administer the survey for more than one day?

Yes, schools may schedule to have their school administer the survey for multiple days. When enrolling select the first date of administration, Arizona State University staff will be in contact to review your enrollment information with you.  You can also email Savanna Allen at to schedule additional dates.

Can my school reschedule after enrolling for a specific date?

Yes, we understand that unanticipated events may occur that require the change of your administration date. Please contact Savanna Allen at if you need to reschedule.

When does my school have to enroll to administer the survey?

Please register as soon as you know that your school would like to participate.  We need at least three weeks to prepare your materials to be mailed to you.  Letters to parents should be sent home one week prior to your school’s administration date, so we need to ensure you have all of the materials prior to this date.

How is the survey coordinated at each school?

Schools should identify one individual who will be responsible for coordinating all of the surveys at your school.  This person might be the Safe and Drug-Free School Coordinator, or some other staff member. This person will be the primary contact for ASU staff regarding administration and will serve as the primary contact for teacher questions and distribution/collection of survey materials.

Will the results be made available to my school?

Yes. The principal or identified designee of each participating school will receive a school-specific report summarizing the data collected at your school. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission will publish state and county level reports that will not identify any of the participating schools.

How will this information be used?

Information from the 2024 AYS survey can be used to meet a variety of needs at the school, community, city, county, and state levels.

  • Survey information can be used to identify the nature and extent of various problem behaviors.  This information can be used to inform resource and policy decisions, such as where prevention and intervention efforts are more needed.
  • At the state and federal levels, there are a variety of competing interests for limited prevention and intervention resources. Data obtained through this survey have been successfully used to provide evidence for additional resources addressing a variety of problem behaviors.
  • Survey data can be used for both entitlement and competitive grant processes for schools and communities.
  • Aggregated data can also be used by organizations across the state for competitive funding opportunities.
  • With continuing participation, the information collected from this survey can be used to assess the performance of prevention and intervention efforts, as well as changes over time in the factors that affect the healthy development of Arizona’s youth.