As health educators, we know the importance of providing powerful character and health programs that successfully motivate students to make smart and healthy life choices. Proof of impact is determined through rigorous independent evaluation.
Our medically sound YES You Can! suite of lessons were developed under a federal grant. They have a strong theoretical base, are grounded in social-cognitive, social learning and protection motivation theory.
These lessons have been used in five federally funded NJ grants and by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) in 3 of their 4 Title V school programs. A review of the YES You Can! suite of lessons, done by Montclair State University and funded by the NJDOH, states that “The material is written with clear teaching objectives, followed by targeted information and interesting activities that address the teaching objectives.” It further states “The curriculum presents information in a relevant and compelling manner that has the potential to change attitudes, values and beliefs; very well done!”
Our YES You Can! curricula has been the focus of three major studies. These documented evaluation results of the YES You Can! suite of lessons offer insight into the importance of providing motivating programs that guide students to consider healthy life choices.
A brief summary of each is provided below:
Institute for Research and Evaluation (2011)
- A three year study involving 2,417 students
- When students taught the YES You Can! lessons were asked about the effect of the program on their intent to wait to have sex:
- 82% stated that the instruction impacted them positively
- 64% said it strengthened their commitment or moved them in that direction
- 18% said it convinced them to wait
- Summary Statement includes: “The available evidence supports that the program can be designated an evidence-based practice with evidence of high quality and good evidence of effectiveness.”
Montclair State University (2014)
- 1,221 students studied by the NJDOH under a Federal Title V grant.
- Comparing differences from pre- to post-test among participants, data showed positive statistical significance (p < .01) within 21 items representing:
- Child/Parent Communication
- Future Orientation/Goal Setting
- Behavioral Intentions
- Program Effectiveness/Program Evaluation.
Particularly noteworthy were the pre vs post-test responses to the following statements:
- “Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other health and emotional problems.” (Pre-test 67.2 % responded Strongly Agree/Agree; post-test 82.8% responded Strongly Agree/Agree, demonstrating a 23.2% change from pre to post survey)
- “How likely is it that you will have sex before you finish high school?” (Pre-test 58.4 % responded Definitely Not/Probably Not and post-test 70.4% responded Definitely Not/Probably Not, demonstrating a 20.5% change from pre to post survey)
- “How likely is it that you will have sex before you are married or in a life-long committed relationship?” (Pre-test 38.9 % responded Definitely Not/Probably Not and at post-test 53.3% responded Definitely Not/Probably Not, demonstrating a 37.0% change from pre to post survey)
Center For Evidence Based Research & Montclair State University (2015)
- 1,179 students studied from 14 New Jersey urban schools; including control students
- The YES You Can! suite of lessons produced statistically significant immediate and long-term effects for student knowledge and behavioral intentions for those students participating in the program compared to those who did not. Participants were surveyed immediately following the YES You Can! intervention, and in a six month follow-up. These results are important precursors to actual behavior.
- The study results were selected for presentation at the fall 2015 American School Health Association Conference.
Particularly noteworthy were the YES You Can! program student vs. control group student responses to the following statements:
- “How likely is it that you will have sex before you finish high school?” (The YES You Can! group showed a 67.6% more favorable response rate that they would not engage in sexual intercourse before finishing high school compared to the control group.)
- “How likely is it that you will have sex before you are married or in a life-long committed relationship?” (The YES You Can! group showed a 42.1% more favorable response rate that they would not engage in sexual intercourse before marriage or a life-long commitment compared to the control group.)