About the Survey

Our Story

The Minnesota Student Survey (MSS) is one of the longest-running youth surveys in the nation. It is a triennial survey that began in 1989. The survey is an anonymous statewide school-based survey conducted to gain insights into the world of students and their experiences.

The survey asks students about their activities, opinions, behaviors and experiences. Students respond to questions on school climate, bullying, out-of-school activities, health and nutrition, emotional and mental health, relationships, substance use and more. Questions about sexual behaviors are asked only of 9th- and 11th-grade students. All responses are anonymous.

The MSS can be administered to 5th-, 8th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students in public schools, charter schools, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) tribal schools and non-public schools. It is also offered to students in alternative learning centers and juvenile correctional facilities. In 2016, 282 of 330 school districts (85.5 percent) participated in the survey--nearly 169,000 students.

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The survey is voluntary for schools and students. Schools have the option of not participating in the survey. If a school chooses to participate, it must notify parents and inform them of their right to review the survey questions and opt out their child. This notification requirement is an obligation under the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Students also can decide not to take the survey or stop at any point while taking it.

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