To What Extent Are Participants Engaged in the Program?.

Programs that implement participant engagement strategies to remove barriers to participation and elicit greater engagement are more likely to show positive impacts on substance use (Winters, 2007).  Although one can measure whether engagement strategies such as interactive teaching techniques are being used, one must also collect data on participant engagement. If participant engagement is low, this may reflect that program activities are not appropriate for the group or issues with group facilitation, such as lack of cultural sensitivity. Program managers must relay findings with regard to engagement and other performance measures back to the staff in a meaningful and helpful way. Program improvement strategies can be generated by running focus groups with students or soliciting ideas during staff meetings.

Data on participant engagement should be collected on a frequent basis. For example, for year-long school-based programs, participant engagement data could be collected quarterly. Below is an example tool for assessing participant engagement.

Surveys / Assessments


Sources Cited

Winters, K.C., Fawkes, T., Fahnhorst, T., Botzet, A., & August, G. (2007). A synthesis review of exemplary drug abuse prevention programs in the United States. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 371-380. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2006.10.002