Is the DARE program more or less effective than we thought?
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The studies conducted by West and O’Neal (2004) reveal that the effect size is ineffective because of the insignificant difference between the DARE participants and DARE non-participants. The z-score equals 0.73, whereas the CI reveals a negative value. Similar concerns are represented by Gorman (1995), who believes that the DARE program is ineffective because P < 0.5, and therefore the distribution is not tangible as well. Gorman (1995) criticizes the studies represented by other acknowledged scholars, including Ennett, Tobler, Ringwalt, and Flewelling (1994), whose research also approves the ineffectiveness of the program with regard to other related substance abuse prevention programs. However, as discussed by Gorman (1995), Ennett et al. (1994) were not consistent in their research of the program effectiveness. In comparison with the studies by West and O’Neal (2004), the studies by Ennett’ et al. (1994) are not focused on accurate evaluation criteria because the reports they used did not relate to the essence and purpose of the examined program.
What difference did methodological differences in the individual DARE evaluation make in the outcomes reported?
While evaluating the effectiveness of the DARE program analysis in accordance with the methodologies and evaluation criteria used, the given assessments refer to various methods of the analysis of participants, as well as various data analysis methods. In particular, West and O’Neal (2004) refer to the information on other related programs to contrast and compare the effectiveness, as well as the peer-reviewed article related to the investigated topic. Thus, they apply to non-experimental methods to find out that the DARE program reveals insignificant changes to the participants’ behavior. Ennett et al. (1994) referred to a wider variety of resources to confirm its slight effect on the welfare of participants suffering from substance abuse. In particular, they refer both to computerized devices, surveys, and peer-reviewed articles reporting the effectiveness of the DARE program. An important issue of the presented studies is connected to the criteria investigated. Specifically, the research by West and O’Neal (2004) measures the program’s effectiveness in accordance with the skills and knowledge acquired by the participants. In contrast, Ennett et al. (1994) are more focused on the analysis of race as an independent variable, which has also proved the program to be ineffective.
From your reading of the material on DARE Program evaluations, how could this program benefit from improvements?
While introducing a wider approach to assessing the program, it is possible to highlight shortcomings and gaps. Specifically, many more factors should be considered while creating a program. Such aspects as race, culture, social background, education should be examined in much more detail to define an action plan and outline solutions for the DARE program participants. The differences in size effects have not provided an objective evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. Therefore, the given program should introduce new training disciplines that would increase the awareness of the participants about the harm caused by drug and alcohol abuse.
The main lesson from the meta-analysis is that many factors influence the findings of outcome evaluation. How much credibility would you place in the Meta-Analysis of Ennett et al. “How Effective is Drug Resistance Education?
The studies by Ennet et al. (1994) prove that the Drug Resistance Education does not contribute greatly to the improvement of students’ social skills and awareness of the negative impact of substance abuse. However, significant changes were attained to the effectiveness of education against tobacco use. In general, the program evaluation has a sufficient level of credibility because all outcomes have been measured in accordance with the schemes and requirements introduced by Martin and Kettner (1996). At the same time, Ennet et al. (1994) could have focused on the importance of social skills and knowledge rather than on the analysis of program potential concerning race characteristics.
Ennett, S. T., Tobler, N. S., Ringwalt, C. L., & Flewelling R. L. (1994). How Effective Is Drug Abuse Resistance Education? A Meta-Analysis of DARE Outcome Evaluations. American Journal of Public Health. 84(9), 1394-1401.
Gorman, D. M. (1995). The Effectiveness of DARE and Other Drug Use Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health. 85(6), 873.
Martin, L. L., & Kettner, P. M. (1996). Measuring the Performance of Human Service Programs. US: Sage Publications.
West, S. L. and O’Neal, K. K. (2004). Project D.A.R.E. Outcomes Effectiveness Revisited. American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), 1027-1029.