One of the earliest stages of the evaluation entailed selecting Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs for the study. The evaluation team first called and met with numerous state officials and experts across the country to identify promising programs for inclusion in the evaluation. Grant applications and program documents provided additional detail on program goals, target population, curriculum used, and funding levels. The evaluation team visited and observed 28 abstinence education programs across the nation. Eleven of these, representing a range of program models and serving different target populations, were invited and agreed to participate in the evaluation.
This report focuses on 4 of these 11 programs. These four programs are called impact sites because they had program features and staff capable of supporting a rigorous, experimental-design impact evaluation. (A fifth program Heritage Keepers® in South Carolina is also an impact site but is not included in this report because it has a different research design.(1) The remaining six programs were community-wide, systemic-change initiatives that aimed to increase public awareness of the problems of teen sexual activity, change community norms and attitudes, involve parents and encourage stronger parent-child communication, and engage youth in abstinence education and youth development services.
While these community-wide initiatives broaden our understanding of strategies for changing youth behavior, by design they are less able to support a rigorous impact study of program effectiveness.
The four programs are the following:
- My Choice, My Future! A three-year, mandatory, classroom-based program, My Choice, My Future! served students, beginning in the eighth grade, who attended Powhatan, Virginia County Schools.
- ReCapturing the Vision. A one-year, elective, classroom-based program, ReCapturing the Vision served mainly seventh and eighth grade girls attending selected middle schools in Miami, Florida.
- Families United to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (FUPTP). An elective, afterschool program available on a voluntary basis to students between the ages of 8 and 13, FUPTP served students attending selected elementary and middle schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Teens in Control. A two-year, mandatory, classroom-based program, Teens in Control served students, beginning in the fifth grade, who attended selected elementary schools in the Clarksdale, Mississippi area.
Each of the four programs had qualities commonly found in programs supported by the Title V, Section 510 funding. Each program complied with the A-H guidelines, delivered its services in school settings, and focused on upper elementary and middle school youth. The four programs curricula also shared a similar focus and had many specific topic areas in common (Table II.1). For example, all four programs taught physical development and reproduction, promoted risk awareness, taught goal-setting and good decision-making, provided instruction about healthy relationships, and helped develop interpersonal and riskavoidance skills.
|Physical Development and Reproduction
|Interpersonal and Relationship Skills
|Note: Appendix B outlines the main curriculum used in each of the four programs.|