Phase Two outcome evaluation of the School Drug Education project
In Phase One of the Outcome Evaluation of the School Drug Education Project staff investigated the feasibility of a number of evaluation designs which could be used to determine the impact of the School Drug Education Project on student drug use outcomes. The investigation determined that a series of ‘dose-response’ analyses using existing Western Australian data sets was the most appropriate evaluation design.
The aim of the phase two outcome evaluation of the School Drug Education Project was to determine if students who were exposed to more of the School Drug Education Project’s components had lower drug use, experienced lower drug-related harm and had more favourable drug-related attitudes than those who received less or none.
The methodology for this impact evaluation of the School Drug Education Project followed six major stages:
- Stage 1: The investigators of the available student outcome data sets were contacted and asked to provide copies of the relevant data;
- Stage 2: The schools represented in the student data were identified, and their involvement/non-involvement in the School Drug Education Project training mapped;
- Stage 3: Using a rigorous theoretical and empirical process, appropriate outcome measures from the different instruments used in the four concurrent studies were identified to be used in the analyses;
- Stage 4: Measures of level of implementation of School Drug Education Project components were obtained from interviews with participating schools’ drug education coordinators (n=65);
- Stage 5: Subsequent to expert review, the interview responses were combined into a representative ‘dose’ score for each school for the period prior to the outcome measurement; and
- Stage 6: Finally, after gathering all the necessary information and preparing the data, analyses were conducted using appropriate statistical methods to control for clustering and account for possible confounders.
Based on the findings a series of recommendations were made to the School Drug Education Project regarding further evaluations of the program and future strategies to maximise the impact of the program on student drug use outcomes and attitudes.
The School Drug Education Project, Department of Education and Training, WA