School-based character education (CE) programs provide an opportunity to increase the moral fortitude of adolescents. This study is a preliminary evaluation of Inspire Aspire, a CE program that was implemented with 13- to 14-year-olds in Scotland. A relational developmental systems meta-theoretical approach and person-centered analyses were employed to understand whether teacher implementation variability is associated with student outcomes. The study aimed to: assess variation in program implementation across teachers; assess student poster quality, which served as a youth outcome measure; and, assess the relationship between variations in program implementation and poster quality. Teachers who fully integrated Inspire Aspire with the broader curriculum (as opposed to using it as a standalone program) as well as teachers who made more modifications to Inspire Aspire tended to have students with higher quality posters. This finding stands in contrast to the common narrative regarding evidence-based programs that requires teachers to strictly adhere to program guidelines in order to maintain implementation fidelity.
- Character education (CE)
- evidence-based programs
- person-centered analysis
- positive youth development (PYD)