Program Evaluation

Despite the growing popularity of violence prevention programs, there is a paucity of empirical evidence of their effectiveness. Conducting school-based research can be difficult due to numerous challenges, including negotiating complex systems and controlling for confounding variables. The program has attempted to address the challenges of evaluation by building on assessments widely used in local public school systems, such as the Social and Health Assessment Survey (SAHA). The SAHA protocol has been adapted to this research to examine exposure to trauma, student adjustment, maladaptive behaviors, and attitudes toward safety and violence both prior to and following completion of the school-based group program.

Pretest and posttest data are collected from all students participating via an adapted form of SAHA and the Attitudes Toward Police Scale. This pretest/posttest design reveals any changes that may occur in children’s functioning and attitudes toward police following completion of the program. To avoid contamination of the results, pretests and posttests are administered by a research assistant who is not one of the group coleaders.

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Community Outreach through Police In Schools
August 2003