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Journal Article


Stead MARTINE, Stradling ROBERT, Macneil M, MacKintosh AM, Minty S. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2007; 26(6): 653-664.


(Copyright © 2007, John Wiley and Sons)






In order to achieve their desired aims, evidence-based, theory-driven drug education programmes need to be implemented as intended. Measurement of ‘fidelity of implementation’ is now included increasingly as part of programme evaluation, although measures and methods are sometimes limited. A more sophisticated approach to assessing implementation fidelity, based on Dane & Schneider's (1998) five dimensions, was used to examine the classroom curriculum element of the Blueprint programme. Blueprint was the largest and most rigorous evaluation of a multi-component drug prevention programme to date in the United Kingdom. Lessons were, overall, delivered with reasonable fidelity, although teachers did not always understand the thinking behind particular activities, suggesting that training needs to focus not only on content and methods but why particular approaches are important. Different dimensions of fidelity could conflict with one another: under pressure of time, generic elements and processes designed to reflect on learning were sometimes sacrificed in order that core drug education activities could be completed. Future drug education curricula need to build in more flexibility for discussion without compromising core evidence-based elements. Even with substantial training and support, individual variations in delivery were found, although few differences were found between teachers with prior expertise and teachers new to drug education. The methods and measures applied in the Blueprint study all represent attempts to improve on previous measures in terms of both reliability and sensitivity. In this respect the Blueprint study represents a valuable contribution to the science of implementation fidelity.


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