The Teens, Crime, and Community Program and Community Works Training (TCC/CW) was created in 1985 and is a partnership between the National Crime Prevention Council and Street Law, Inc. The program, based on a 'risk-factor' approach, consists of three components, although not all programs implement all three components: (1) a 31-lesson interactive curriculum dealing with such topics as guns, violence, hate crimes, substance abuse, and victimization; (2) use of community resource people as role models to deliver the curriculum; and (3) 'action projects' that allow teens to apply what they have learned.
While TCC/CW relies primarily on an 'individual-change' strategy, the program also includes a school-level component which seeks to affect the educational environment. We therefore propose a five-year evaluation design comprised of both a process and outcome assessment of the TCC/CW program, the latter including a strategy that assesses program impact on both individuals and schools. We have assembled a diverse and highly skilled team that has a proven track record of conducting longitudinal evaluations, of collaborating with program providers to implement research findings, and of producing products of interest and value to both researchers and practitioners.
Assessment of program implementation is essential. Without knowledge about the degree to which a program has been implemented, discussion of effectiveness may be premature. Evaluations of several school-based interventions have found that low levels of program effect were more likely attributable to poor or incomplete program implementation than to poorly conceived programs (e.g., DuBois et al. 2002; Nunnery et al 1997). The process evaluation will assess the program fidelity and address the extent to which the program is transferrable to other locations. It will also identify the extent to which the various components of the TCC/CW program are implemented and seek to identify the key components necessary for successful transfer of the program to other sites.
The outcome evaluation will consist of four separate strategies. First, individual-level program effects will be assessed through a longitudinal, quasi-experimental design in which a panel of students will be followed through their school years. Annual surveys will assess program effect on known risk factors associated with adolescent problem behaviors. Second, school-level program effects will be assessed through two cross-sectional surveys administered to students at schools prior to and following implementation of the TCC/CW program. Third, school personnel and program staff will be surveyed to assess satisfaction with the program and levels of perceived effectiveness. Fourth, school and justice system records will be analyzed to assess program effects on school disorder and academic performance. Another important component of this evaluation is the determination of the cost-effectiveness of the program, utilizing the procedures detailed by Aos et al. (2001).