Fidelity & Evaluation
What is fidelity and why is it important?
When an evidence-based program is delivered in the same way it was tested (with fidelity) and provided to the audience for which the program is intended, it is assumed that the same results found in the research study can be achieved.
- Ensures that parents & youth in all your sessions get the same program
- Ensures positive results and outcomes across a wide range of programs and practices
- Fidelity enables us provide information about program feasibility to funders
Observations are considered the best method or most credible method for checking on fidelity. Observations measure two aspects of the program:
- Fidelity - whether the activities are carried out and content is delivered as intended
- Group facilitator’s contribution - how you deliver the content and lead/run the activities
Who are observers?
- Observers are trained in the program at the same time as the facilitators
- They can be another facilitator or substitute facilitator who is not facilitating that day
- They can be the coordinator that comes in and has some supervisory role
They can be someone trained to only do observations
Communities most often do simple pre-post surveys, using the instruments for both parents and youth that can be found in the teaching manual. This quick and easy type of evaluation can be done without extra evaluation funds.
In scientific, longitudinal studies, extensive information is collected through in-home interviews with both parents and youth, including videotaped interaction of the families taking part in structured interactions. This type of evaluation is extremely expensive and out of reach of most community-based evaluation efforts.