Are you SMART?


Genevieve Martínez García

The first step for designing an evaluation plan is to get a comprehensive understanding of what the program is trying to achieve and with whom. SMART objectives, as part of the program logic model, can tell us just this information. The program logic model not only lays out a plan or a map to developing a program/intervention, but it also points to the objectives of a program and what should be evaluated and measured.

Most of us are now accustomed to writing SMART objectives, but it’s always helpful to take a step back and revisit the evaluation plan. Are the objectives truly SMART? Can they be SMARTer?

A Review on SMART Objectives…

Specific – What will change and for whom? Be specific.
Measurable – Are your desired outcomes measurable? By how much will things change?
Achievable – Are your desired outcomes achievable and attainable?
Realistic – Are your desired outcomes realistic given our resources?
Time Bound – By when will you expect to see your desired outcomes?

When writing SMART objectives, it may be helpful to use an objective-writing template:

By (TIME BOUND: what date or completion of what activity),(SPECIFIC: describe who) will (SPECIFIC: describe change in knowledge, attitude or behavior) by indicator (MEASURABLE: describe how you will know change has occurred).

Evaluation in Practice: Evaluating the Implementation of Sex Education in Schools

From 2010-2012, Healthy Teen Network partnered with Elev8 and East Baltimore Development, Inc. to implement and evaluate sexuality education programs in several Baltimore City elementary and middle schools. Healthy Teen Network evaluators engaged educators, school staff, and Elev8 administrators in the evaluation process to obtain meaningful process and outcome evaluation data. Data were incorporated into the planning of each implementation cycle to improve program delivery and enhance outcomes.

The evaluation plan included development and administration of pre-and post-test tailored to the selected program and appropriate for young African American students, direct observation of class implementation, fidelity monitoring assessment, and individual and group interviews with key project staff. The mixed-method evaluation plan allowed Healthy Teen Network to assess the quality and fidelity of the implementation; to identify factors at the school, facilitator, and administration levels affecting the delivery of the program; and to assess gains in knowledge among participants.

Healthy Teen Network is able to support you in providing evaluation services, or building your capacity to conduct program evaluation:

  • Conducting a needs and resources assessment using multiple data collection methods and approaches (e.g., secondary analysis, collecting own data)
  • Developing evaluation plans
  • Designing data collection tools (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Planning and implementing data collection methods
  • Designing participant assessment protocols and tools
  • Designing instructor observation protocols and tools
  • Conducting qualitative data analysis using software
  • Developing evaluation reports
  • Interpreting evaluation results
  • Conducting continuous quality improvement (CQI) based on evaluation results

For more information on these capacity-building services, contact Mila Garrido or complete a service request form today.

Genevieve Martínez García, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at Healthy Teen Network.

5 Free Sexual Health E-Learning Opportunities You Can Access Today

Woman typingAs part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of  Reproductive Health’s (CDC-DRH) Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Integrating Services, Programs, and Strategies through Community-Wide Initiatives cooperative agreement, Healthy Teen Network provides capacity-building assistance to support grantees to implement evidence-based programs (EBPs) and strategies, with quality and fidelity. Over the course of the project, it became evident that many trainers and facilitators wanted either an introductory class or refresher on sexual health concepts such as anatomy and physiology, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Healthy Teen Network assessed the availability of e-learning professional development opportunities for educators on this content.

To conduct this analysis, we developed a tool to assess the accessibility, affordability, content and visuals, quality, appropriateness for adult learners, assessments, cost, and duration of each program we identified through a targeted search. (Healthy Teen Network did not search for programs aimed at the end user, such as youth or parents.)

Among the e-learning professional development opportunities we assessed, the following five were completely free:

  1. Alberta Health Services
    Alberta Health Services provides the website as a resource for sexual health teachers and educators in Alberta, Canada, to enhance excellence in education by providing teachers with evidence-based sexual health education and delivery methods, lesson plans and activities, and comprehensive resources.
  2. American School Health Association, I Wanna Know is a site of the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) and is a resource for educators and youth, with information on sexual health for teens and young adults, including comprehensive information on STIs, as well as information on healthy relationships, dating violence, and more.
  3. Global Health Learning (GHel) Center
    USAID’s Bureau of Global Health developed the GHeL Center to provide its worldwide health staff with access to state of the art technical global health information. The GHel Center offers courses aimed at increasing knowledge in a variety of global health technical areas.
  4. Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), E-Learning Modules
    OAH is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of adolescents to enable them to become healthy, productive adults. The office supports and evaluates evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs and implements the Pregnancy Assistance Fund; coordinates Department of Health and Human Service efforts related to adolescent health promotion and disease prevention; and communicates adolescent health information to health professionals, parents, grantees, and the general public.
  5. South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Online Learning Center (OLC)
    The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s mission is to improve the health and economic well-being of individuals, communities, and the state of South Carolina by preventing teen pregnancy. The purpose of the OLC is to better equip individuals, groups, and organizations to meet the needs of young people and to reduce the rate of adolescent pregnancy. The OLC reflects the field’s best practices, supporting the transition from research to practice.

To see the ratings for each of these E-Learning professional development opportunities, see the Table on the last page of the report.

We are very interested in learning more about other e-learning professional development experiences! If you have comments or suggestions for other e-learning professional development opportunities, please complete this brief online survey.

Confessions of a Sex Ed Mom

Deb Chilcoat

Deb Chilcoat

If you are expecting a blog post chock-full of shockingly juicy confessions, this one is NOT for you. Those will have to wait until my memoir is published posthumously (which, I hope, is no time soon). However, I do want to share few tidbits that—dare I say—help me be the best “Sex Ed Mom” to my children (and other peoples’ children) that I can be.

Confession #1: I had great sex educators in my life.
We all know that it is essential to communicate openly and honestly about sexuality with our sons and daughters—early and often. I was fortunate to have parents, teachers, and other adults in my life who were very open to discussing sexuality. I cannot recall if any question was too offensive, too outrageous, or too embarrassing to ask them…and I am fairly certain there were a few doozies over the years!  What I do remember is feeling comfortable and safe asking them, knowing that they would tell me the truth or help me find the answer. I guess you could say that they modeled some of the most important skills I learned as a sexuality educator and Sex Ed Mom: be accessible, open, and honest.

Confession #2: I had practice.
Long before I had my own children, I was committed to communicating openly to other people’s children about sex and sexuality. Whether it was my family or the students in my sexuality education programs, it was important to provide them as much information as possible about their bodies, relationships, and sexual decision making so that they could lead healthy and successful lives. It was great practice for when my own kids arrived on the scene many years later and (I hope!) will continue to guide me as they get older.

Confession #3: Topics I think are for public discourse (e.g., periods, masturbation, and condoms) are not always well-received by others.
Funny, though, sometimes when I do bring up these topics in conversation, it can be an amazing icebreaker! Which leads me to Confession #4…

Confession #4: I love talking to other parents about sexuality and reproductive health.
Once word gets out that you are a Sex Ed Mom,  be prepared to have conversations about sex and sexuality with other parents (and grandparents!) on the sidelines of your kids’ sports games or while roasting marshmallows over the campfire. Questions will inevitably include the following: when and how to talk to kids about body changes, the “bird and the bees,” HIV and AIDS, gender stereotypes, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Honestly, as long as these conversations don’t distract me from seeing my daughter’s amazing save in the soccer goal or watch my son crush the soccer ball in the back of the net, OR cause me to drop my marshmallow in the flames, I welcome these conversations and hope to have many, many more like them as our kids grow older.

Confession #5: I’m not perfect…not even close!
After all these years of teaching parents and other caregivers about communicating about sexuality, I still make mistakes and expect to make plenty more. What gives me comfort is that I am granted plenty of mulligans; I can circle back and clarify things I said or expand on ideas and concepts with my kids, and my kids can do the same with me!  Now, imagine if every family threaded conversations about sex and sexuality into everyday activities. What if…during long trips you powered-off your devices and turned off the radio to talk about body changes? What if… during meals it would be no big deal to ask you kids to pass the pepper and if any of their friends are “dating” and what that means at their age? What if…as your children go to sleep you could assure them that everything that is happening to their body is normal and beautiful?

Confession #6: I am optimistic.
I think, with a little courage, knowledge, and practice, each of us can shape the next generation of Sex Ed Moms (and Sex Ed Dads, and Sex Ed Aunts and Sex Ed Uncles, too!).

Do you have any sex ed confessions to share?

Talk to you on the sidelines!

Deborah Chilcoat, MEd, is a Senior Training and Technical Assistance Manager at Healthy Teen Network.

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