How Would You Score? Assessing for Characteristics of Effective Curricula

Valerie Sedivy

Valerie Sedivy

If you work with schools to provide teen pregnancy, HIV, and/or STI programming, you may already know that many schools and districts use the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to select and adapt curricula.

For those of you less familiar with yet another acronym for our field: The HECAT stands for Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool. It was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with help from many different experts in a wide range of fields, including public and school health education practices, health education standards and assessment, school curriculum design, classroom instruction, and health risk behavioral research and practice.

There are many benefits to using the HECAT to select and adapt curricula, but here are some of the top reasons…

  • Assess a health education curriculum you already have in place and identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Compare various curricula with one another in a fair and systematic way, to select a curriculum.
  • Design a new curriculum and capitalize on the guidance in the HECAT.

Your efforts to work with schools are more likely to be successful if you know how to use this tool. With support from CDC-DASH*, Healthy Teen Network has developed an orientation to the HECAT through a series of pre-recorded mini-webinars, designed to help you learn at your own pace. Topics covered include:

  1. What is the HECAT, and how can it help me?
  2. Building blocks of the HECAT: The Characteristics of Effective Curricula
  3. Building blocks of the HECAT: The National Health Education Standards
  4. A walk through the HECAT
  5. Using topic-based modules to review curricula
  6. What now? The HECAT review process and use of results

(Click on each topic above to view the mini-webinars.)

Healthy Teen Network also offers in-person training on the HECAT, to help you gain hands-on experience using this tool. You can request a training online through our Service Request Form.

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, cooperative agreement 1U87PS004175-01.

Valerie Sedivy is a Senior Program Manager at Healthy Teen Network.

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