Lessons From the Trenches: Meeting Evaluation Challenges in School Health Education

Michael Young, George Denny, Joseph Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Those involved in school health education programs generally believe that health-education programs can play an important role in helping young people make positive health decisions. Thus, it is to document the effects of such programs through rigorous evaluations published in peer-reviewed journals. Methods: This paper helps the reader understand the context of school health program evaluation, examines several problems and challenges, shows how problems can often be fixed, or prevented, and demonstrates ways in which challenges can be met. A number of topics are addressed, including distinguishing between curricula evaluation and evaluation of outcomes, types of evaluation, identifying stakeholders in school health evaluation, selection of a program evaluator, recruiting participants, design issues, staff training, parental consent, instrumentation, program implementation and treatment fidelity, participant retention, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, presentation of results, and manuscript preparation and submission. Results: Although there is a lack of health-education program evaluation, rigorous evaluations that have been conducted have, at least in some cases, led to wider dissemination of effective programs. Conclusions: These suggestions will help those interested in school health education understand the importance of evaluation and will provide important guidelines for those conducting evaluations of school health-education programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-535
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Evaluation
  • Research
  • School health instruction


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