Pass/Fail Grading Your AOD Program
It’s a truism: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. It’s
true in manufacturing, and it’s true for alcohol and other drug abuse
Evaluation is part of an effective program at every step.
Ongoing evaluation helps you focus your efforts, make your program more
effective, and demonstrate the program’s value at budget time. Looking at what
can be measured is also a good tactic for breaking big, amorphous issues into
workable, concrete pieces.
It’s never too early in the process to start thinking
about setting measurable goals and figuring out how you’re going to measure
them. Tools such as MyStudentBody’s surveys and assessments, the National
College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey, and others that you have on your
campus generate a number of measurements that can be useful in guiding your
efforts. Follow-up assessments are also a great way to track change over time
within the same student population.
Not all data comes from surveys. You can also learn from
one-on-one conversations, focus groups, campus police, health services, academic
and other records and statistics.
Here are things that can be measured that may help
indicate the success of a drug, alcohol, or sexual violence prevention program:
students, faculty, campus employees, or neighbors to learn what they think
about campus drinking, drug use, or safety.
students to determine what they know about the legal, health, and academic
risks of drug and alcohol use and sexual violence, local and campus policies
and penalties, risk reduction techniques, and options for assistance or
students’ past and present drug and alcohol usage and/or involvement in sexual
- Legal consequences—Campus
and local police can provide data about such things as noise complaints,
property damage, DUI stops, reported crimes, and arrests.
consequences—University health services or local hospitals can give
statistics on injuries, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, deaths.
interventions—Campus counseling services can provide statistics on the
rates of substance abuse and mental health counseling among students.
consequences—The college’s own records can provide graduation rates,
frequency and severity of academic sanctions, and other data about student
can also survey students’ and other participants’ satisfaction with any program
can survey how well your message got out or how well a policy was implemented.
This can be a useful marker in itself, and is also a useful step in fine-tuning
your assessment of a message or intervention.
If you haven’t built evaluation into your prevention
efforts, it’s never too late to begin. Many of the measurements listed above
can be used to set a baseline condition at the start of the program after the
fact—for instance, you should be able to find the number noise complaints from
neighbors of Greek Row during pledge week for previous years. While you won’t
be able to establish that your program is a direct cause of any change, you
will be able to see if the factor you’re measuring has improved while the
program has been in effect. So, if those noise complaints decreased after you
established a no-alcohol policy for pledge week, you have an indication that
the policy may be effective. You’ll want to evaluate further, but it gives you
a place to begin.
Center for the Advancement of Public Health. (2007).
Impact Evaluation Resource. George Mason University. Retrieved November 30,
2011, from http://www.caph.gmu.edu/files/NCAA/IMPACT/IMPACT_Evaluation%20Resource.pdf
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. National
Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute. (2008). Evaluation primer: Setting the
context for a drug-free community coalition evaluation. Community Anti-Drug
Coalitions of America. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://www.cadca.org/resources/detail/evaluation-primer
DeJong W, Langford LM. (2006) Evaluating Environmental
Management Approaches to Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention. The Higher
Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention. Retrieved November 30,
2011, from http://searchpubs.higheredcenter.org/files/product/evaluating.pdf
Muraskin LD. (1993). Understanding Evaluation: The Way to
Better Prevention Programs. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved on November
30, 2011, from http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/handbook.pdf
Saltz R, DeJong W (2002). Reducing alcohol
problems on campus: A guide to planning and evaluation. U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/NIAAACollegeMaterials/planEvalHandbook.aspx Back To Home