The winter edition of Catalyst, the newsletter from the US Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for alcohol and other drug abuse and violence prevention, focuses on evaluation.
It’s all useful stuff (evaluation for prevention, evaluation on a shoestring, advice for small colleges, etc.) but I was particularly taken by an article on turning policy into pactice:
When campus prevention coordinators implement a program, activity, or policy, they are doing so in hope of achieving some result, such as decreased high-risk drinking or violent behavior among college students (the program goal). A logic model is a diagram that shows the program planners’ commonsense understanding of how and why program activities lead to program goals…
…the best time to construct a logic model [is] after program activities have been tentatively selected but prior to program implementation. Constructing a logic model as a part of this planning process can serve to make explicit how the planned activities will lead to the ultimate goals for these efforts (e.g., decreased high-risk drinking, decreased incidents of violence). Planning a prevention program is a complex undertaking, and even experienced professionals often find that the first draft of a logic model reveals flaws in the logical sequence of the program. A logic model allows these flaws to be corrected on paper before implementing program activities in the field.
I’d have thought that if and once there are well-being indicators for schools this sort of process could be an extremely useful addition to the guidance on developing a drug policy (see the DCSF guidance and the Blueprint guide).