Section 1: Prepare your school for the Middle Childhood
Survey (MCS)
Opt your school in/out of the MCS
Share MCS Resources with Year 6 Teachers and School Staff
Update the myMCS Portal
Distribute the Parent/Caregiver Information Leaflet
Monitor Survey Opt-Outs/Withdrawals in myMCS Portal
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Section 2: Administer the Middle Childhood Survey (MCS)
Print Student MCS Login Codes
Show Year 6 Students the MCS Information Video
Read the MCS Information Statement to Students
Facilitate Student Login to the MCS
Students Complete the MCS Online
Monitor and Finalise MCS Records
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Appendix A: MCS Sample Questions
Appendix B: Parent/Caregiver Verbal Opt Out form
Appendix C: Student Information Statement
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Important Website Addresses
NSW Child Development Study website:
myMCS Portal:
MCS Student Survey:
Need help?
If you have any questions or encounter any issues with myMCS portal, please contact us and
a member of our research team will be happy to provide you with assistance.
Toll-free information hotline: 1800 901 922
Email: [email protected]
@ NSW Child Development Study
Step 1: Participation in the MCS
In term 3, 2015, all students enrolled in Year 6 of participating Government, Catholic and
Independent primary schools in NSW will be invited to participate in a survey of child mental
health and wellbeing: the Middle Childhood Survey (MCS). The MCS is part of a larger
longitudinal NSW Child Development Study (NSW-CDS) that explores how children's early
experiences influence later adolescent and adult health, education, social, and life outcomes.
Your school Principal (or authorised representative) is asked to Agree or Decline participation of your
school in the MCS by completing the online “Agreement / Decline to Participate” form.
*Please note that the forms are best completed using Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox or
Internet Explorer 9+.*
Go to the Participate or Opt Out tab on the NSW-CDS website and click the “School
Agreement or Decline to Participate” link.
Complete the appropriate Agreement or Decline to Participate form using the unique
verification code provided via email.
Agreement to Participate:
Once submitted, a
confirmation email will be
sent providing your
school’s secure login
Decline to Participate:
Once submitted, you will
receive no further contact
from the NSW-CDS team.
Step 2: Share MCS Resources with Year 6
Teachers and School Staff
SSStaffStafAdministration Staff
The Principal (or authorised person) nominates a contact person that will coordinate the
administration of the MCS within your school. It is suggested that this individual sets up a staff
meeting to disseminate information about the MCS to all Year 6 teachers and relevant school
administration staff.
Please ensure that all staff involved receives the information in the MCS Resources tab on the study
website and the secure login details to access your school’s myMCS Portal
Step 3: Update the myMCS Portal
The myMCS Portal provides everything schools need to administer the MCS. Student names and
unique student MCD IDs are pre-loaded, with the exception of new students that need to be added
(see below). Teachers use the myMCS to manage student details and participation in the MCS.
Please note that the forms are best completed using Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox or
Internet Explorer 9+.*
Access the myMCS Portal via the “Schools” tab on the NSW-CDS website. Login using
your school’s secure user name and password, provided in the email titled: [2] NSWCDS: School Login Details for the myMCS Portal
Enter each Year 6 teacher’s name and class to create a profile for each class (this will be
used to assign students into their class groups for survey administration)
In the Add, Remove, and Assign Students section, you can remove students no longer
attending your school, assign current students to their class teacher, and add missing
students (see step-by-step instructions on the following pages). Begin by selecting the
relevant Class/Teacher.
Remove students that no longer attend your school by moving them from ‘Select
Students to Remove’ column to ‘Removed Students’ column. Save changes before
leaving the screen.
Assign students by first selecting a Teacher/Class name from the drop down menu, and
clicking the “Assign one or more Students this Teacher/Class” tab. Then move students
from the ‘Select Students to Assign’ column to ‘Assigned Students’ column (as done in 3a).
Add any Year 6 students not listed in your Student List, by clicking the “Add a Student” tab
and completing the Student Details form. Student MCD IDs will be generated
automatically for each new student added. Scroll down to assign the added student to a
Teacher/Class name
Step 4: Distribute the Parent/Caregiver
Information Leaflet
The MCS Information Leaflet provides parents/caregivers with essential information about the MCS,
what participation means for their child, and the opt-out/withdrawal process. Provision of this
leaflet to parents/caregivers is essential to the ethical requirements of this research;
Each school will be mailed a batch of Parent/Caregiver Information Leaflets. Your school is asked to
circulate the leaflet to all Year 6 students’ parents/caregivers at least two weeks prior to MCS
administration. To help ensure all parents/caregivers are informed about the study, please distribute
the Parent/Caregiver Information Leaflets by email to parents/caregivers and by having students
take home a paper copy. The electronic version of the leaflet is available for download on our NSWCDS website. An audio version of the leaflet is also available for download on our website, and it is
translated into the 10 most common languages spoken in NSW other than English.
Go to the Schools tab on the NSW-CDS website. Under MCS Resources, click “MCS
Parent/Caregiver Leaflet in Multiple Languages”. The leaflet is also available under the
Parents/Caregivers tab.
Step 5: Monitor Survey Opt-Outs/Withdrawals in
myMCS Portal
Schools are asked to manage opt-outs/withdrawals from parents/caregivers and students using the
myMCS Portal.
There are three options for parents/caregivers to opt-out/withdraw from the MCS:
1. Online - An online opt-out form is available on the NSW-CDS website;
2. Written - A written opt-out form is provided in the Information Leaflet;
3. Verbal - Teachers may be advised by Parents/Caregivers verbally that they wish to opt their
child out (see Appendix B).
There are two options for students to opt-out of the MCS:
1. Online - Students may opt-out online themselves (please see Step 9, page 16);
2. Verbal - Teachers may be advised by students verbally, prior to, during, or following the
survey, that they wish to opt-out.
Parents/caregivers can withdraw their child from the MCS before or after the survey is administered,
by using the opt-out/withdrawal options above. Any student data collected will be destroyed
following withdrawal by parents/caregivers or students up until the 16 October 2015. After this
date, all survey data will be de-identified to protect student privacy, thus individual responses can no
longer be identified or withdrawn from the data.
NB. Teachers are requested to keep all opt-out paper copies until the survey closes on 16 October
2015, at which time all opt-out paper copies must be destroyed.
To manage opt-outs/withdrawals in your myMCS Portal, scroll down to Student
Records, then click on the MCS ID associated with the student whose record is to be
updated. Removed and opted-out students are highlighted in red.
Check the box to indicate
Parent/Caregiver Opt-out: This box will
be checked automatically when a
parent/caregiver withdraws their child
online, via the NSW-CDS website. It
cannot be changed by the school.
Use this function to sort student records (e.g. A-Z, by class) and locate individual
students. Using the “OPT-OUT” filter will provide a list of students not taking part in the
MCS and requiring an alternative activity during MCS administration.
Step 6: Print Student MCS Login Codes
The student login file located in your school’s myMCS Portal contains tickets with the unique login
details for each Year 6 student (student’s name, gender, date-of-birth [DOB], and MCS ID). Please
print and circulate these tickets to individual students before administering the survey.
In the “Assign one or more Student to this Teacher/ Classes” tab, select the designated
class from the drop-down menu then click “Download Student List for Login Details”.
This will provide you with the list of student tickets in PDF format, for those students
that have not been opted out.
Please provide each student with their ticket to login to the MCS. Ensure the name and
date of birth for each student is correct.
Step 7: Show Year 6 Students the MCS
Information Video
Before Year 6 students commence the MCS, it is important that all participants view the MCS
Student Information Video. The student information video may be presented to the students as a
class and does not need to be viewed immediately prior to MCS administration.
Go to the Information for Students tab on the NSW-CDS website and click the “NSWCDS Information Video for Students” link. The video can also be accessed using your
myMCS Portal in the MCS Administration Materials section.
Step 8: Read the MCS Information Statement to
To ensure consistency in MCS administration across all schools, class teachers are asked to read the
Student Information Statement and MCS Instructions to their Year 6 students verbatim, (this may be
done as a whole class). Teachers should emphasise to students that their survey responses are
completely confidential and will not be seen by teachers or parents.
The Student Information Statement and MCS Instructions are shown in the “Participate
or Opt Out” link for students on the NSW-CDS website.
Step 9: Facilitate Student Login to the MCS
The MCS survey portal is available through the Educational Measurement and School
Accountability (EMSAD) Surveys Online website.
Please note: For students completing the survey on tablets (e.g. iPads) or personal laptop
computers, please ensure that the privacy settings allow access to this website.
After reading the information statement and survey instructions, students decide
whether or not they would like to participate in the MCS (found under the “Participate
or Opt Out” link for students on the NSW-CDS website- Step 8).
Using the MCS IDs obtained in Step 6, please facilitate student login to the MCS survey
portal with their unique MCS IDs and dates-of-birth [DOB].
Students may opt-out of the survey by entering their unique MCS-ID and DOB, and then
clicking “Decline participation” checkbox prior to pressing “Submit”.
Step 10: Students Complete the MCS Online
The MCS is a computerised self-administered survey. It is advisable to let your school IT know which
day(s) you intend to administer the survey so that they are available should you require any
technical support. However, if you do encounter any issues, please contact us and we will work
closely with our IT contractors to resolve it as promptly as possible.
MCS Administration Environment
Class teachers are asked to ensure that the survey environment is quiet, free from distractions, and
that students do not talk to other students whilst completing the MCS.
Providing Assistance to Students
Students should be able to complete the survey independently, however if a student usually has
a support worker in the classroom, he/she can complete the survey using their assistance.
Students may be assisted with reading the questions and understanding the response options;
however, they should not be coached or assisted in selecting their response to individual items.
Students will need to know their home postcode or suburb/town to complete the
demographics section of the survey. You may need to provide some assistance for students who
may not know this information.
MCS Administration Time
Please allow 10 minutes for initial instruction to students (Step 8) and then approximately 30
minutes for the students to complete the survey.
If the survey cannot be completed in one sitting, click “Save & Exit” located at the bottom of
each page of the survey. The survey can then be continued from this saved point, by logging
back into the MCS survey portal (as previously done in step 9).
MCS Audio Version
An audio version of the Middle Childhood Survey is available for students with reading difficulties. It
can be downloaded from the first page of the Student Survey, following student login with MCS-ID.
The MCS audio version is password protected and the duration is 35 mins. Please help maintain MCS
confidentiality by deleting all audio recordings from desktops upon survey completion.
For Windows:
1. Select the folder “MCS-Audio-Recording” and click “Extract”.
2. Browse the folder and select Desktop. Click “Extract” to extract all files to the Desktop.
3. Enter the password “nsw2015cds”.
4. Open the “MCS-Audio-Recording” folder found on the Desktop. Highlight all files and right click
“Play” on the first track to play as a continuous playlist.
For Mac:
1. Enter the password “nsw2015cds” to download the MCS-Audio-Recording folder.
2. Drag the MCS-Audio-Recording folder into iTunes.
3. Play as a playlist.
Step 11: Monitor and Finalise MCS Records
Once the survey has been administered, please return to the “Student Records” page and update
any outstanding student details. Student participation status in the MCS is represented by three
Blue – no activity (neither participated nor withdrew from MCS)
Green – completed the MCS
Red – opted-out/withdrew from MCS or Removed by school
If your school’s 2-week administration period has passed, students are still able to participate in the
MCS using the steps above, up until the end of the MCS administration period (20 July – 11 Sept,
2015). Schools are encouraged to manage all students still showing a blue “no activity” status by
updating opt-outs/withdrawals or enabling students to participate in the MCS.
Mark students as “Absent” if they have been absent from school during the MCS
administration by clicking on their MCS-ID and checking the box Absent from school.
Monitor your school’s survey completion status on the first page of the myMCS Portal.
Your school’s status updates automatically whenever students are opted-out, or
student surveys are completed. In order to reach 100% completion status, all students
need to be accounted for (including marking students absent and removing students no
longer enrolled in your school).
Appendix A - MCS Sample Questions
The Middle Childhood Survey (MCS) collects information about children’s mental health and
wellbeing. It is designed to measure individual variation in thoughts, feelings, actions, and
experiences, as well as social skills, sleep patterns, and family and community networks. The results
cannot be used to diagnose individuals with any types of illness, and will not be used to “label”
children. Instead, the survey questions will provide an index of mental health in this NSW population
of children aged around 11 years.
The MCS questions have been used in other studies with children of similar ages from many
different countries, including Australia, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States of
America, the Netherlands, and others. The MCS procedures have been developed with input from
the study’s Stakeholder Reference Groups who represent the views of Schools/Teachers and
Parents/Communities, as well as the study Scientific Committee, and the Government, Catholic, and
Independent education sectors, and Indigenous Australians. Details regarding the range of experts,
agencies, organisations, and groups involved are available on the Who We Are page of the NSW-CDS
Domains of function assessed by the Middle Childhood Survey
Emotion and Behaviour
Social Skills
Attitudes and Actions
Thoughts and Experiences
Sleep Patterns
Family and Community
Below, you will find example questions for each domain of function being assessed by the MCS.
Children are asked to tell us how true or not true the statements are for them.
Emotion and Behaviour:
Children’s emotions and behaviours have a major impact on the choices they make and how well
they cope and enjoy life. These items ask about how children identify, express, and manage their
feelings and their actions. Examples include:
I am confident in new situations.
I often worry.
I listen carefully when an adult tells me what to do.
I rush into things without thinking.
I fight with others to get what I want.
I like to be nice to other people.
I take things I want without asking.
Social Skills:
Children’s ability to interact socially with others influences how easily they can form relationships
with other children and with adults. Children who have advanced social skills and are able to resolve
conflicts with others are more likely to succeed at school, and are often better able to cope with
stressful experiences. Examples include:
I am liked by other children.
I would rather be alone than with other children my age.
I get along well with others.
Attitudes and Actions:
Children’s attitudes and behavioural tendencies play an important role in shaping their view of the
world and themselves. How children see themselves and express their beliefs and values may
change as they grow up, and can be quite different from the perspectives held by others. Example
items include:
I am a kind person.
I like to play tricks on people.
I make sure I finish my jobs.
Thoughts and Experiences:
Children’s thoughts and experiences are sometimes expressions of creativity, and it is normal for
childhood beliefs to change as a child grows up. Some childhood beliefs that may seem irrational or
“make-believe” to an adult can be real for a child. Example items include:
I have special powers that nobody else has.
I see or hear things that other people can’t.
Sleep Patterns:
Sleep gives children time to rest. Children’s sleeping patterns can impact on their learning abilities,
behaviour, attention, and mood. Examples include:
I get sleepy in class.
I stay alert during my lessons.
Family and Community Networks:
Children live in different environments, but the support of a family member or another adult from
the community can affect the child’s well-being and their ability to cope with difficult situations.
These items ask about supportive people and places in the child’s life. Examples include:
At home, there is someone I can talk to about things that bother me.
At school, there is someone who believes in me.
In my community, there is someone who cares about me.
Appendix B - Parent/Caregiver VERBAL OPT-OUT
(To be completed by the school teacher when contacted by a parent/caregiver in person or by
The parent/caregiver of............................................................................................................(child’s
name) contacted the school to request that the NSW Child Development Study Middle Childhood
Survey, 2015 (MCS) information is not to be collected for this child. If the child has already
completed the MCS in class, the parent requests that his/her child data be removed from the survey.
Full name of staff member notified:
Signature of staff member notified:
/ 2015
Appendix C - Student Information Statement
You are being invited to take part in a survey of your health and wellbeing.
This survey is about you – the questions are about how you think and feel about things in your life,
and what you like to do.
This year, we will be asking all Year 6 students of participating schools in New South Wales to answer
the same questions.
This is not a test! There are no right or wrong answers. Each person thinks, feels, and acts differently
to others. Answering these questions gives you the chance to say how you see things. Your answers
It is your choice to fill out the survey. You can choose not to take part at any time – before, during,
or after the survey – just tell your teacher and/or your parent/s if you don't want to take part.
The information you give in this survey will be confidential (private) and WILL NOT BE SHARED with
your teacher, principal, parents, or your school friends. Your answers will be recorded with a code so
that they will remain anonymous (your answers cannot be linked to your name).
This means that you can never be identified personally and your privacy is protected. In the future,
the data gathered from you may also be linked to data from other organisations, for the purpose of
answering research questions that cannot be answered using just your survey data.
Your teacher will tell you more about the survey shortly, and you need to decide whether you would
like to take part.
If you have any complaints about the survey, you can tell your teacher or your parents, or you can
contact a representative at the Ethics Office of The University of New South Wales, SYDNEY, 2052
AUSTRALIA (telephone [02] 9385 6222, fax [02] 9385 6648, email [email protected]). You
should have a copy of this form to keep.