Integrating a School-Based Health Intervention in Times of High-Stakes Testing

Lessons Learned from Full Court Press

This article presents findings from the evaluation of Full Court Press, a five-year smoking cessation program based in schools. It describes the challenges of running a school-sponsored program during times when resources are largely devoted to high-stakes testing and provides lessons on how to successfully run a program under those conditions. 

Researchers conducted a qualitative process assessment of Full Court Press in 2000. The evaluation used secondary data and interviews to provide a cohesive assessment of the program.

Key Findings:

  • Schools are increasingly pressured to devote resources to preparing for high-stakes testing, which has decreased willingness to invest in nonacademic programs. Even when programs do not require a financial commitment from the school, there may be resistance to providing the time and administrative support for the program.
  • There are several steps an outside program can take to develop a school-based program, including minimizing school burden for the program, finding an internal champion of the project, offering a fully developed curriculum, and requiring as little school personnel involvement as possible.
  • Program developers should also ensure that the people delivering school-based lessons have experience with the health issue at hand, and should be flexible with scheduling restraints and changes.

This set of findings from the evaluation of a school-based smoking cessation program may help others as they develop similar school-based programs.