The West Virginia Health Education Assessment Project

By Tompkins, Nancy O'Hara; Kamal, Khalid M. et al. | Journal of School Health, August 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The West Virginia Health Education Assessment Project


Tompkins, Nancy O'Hara, Kamal, Khalid M., Chapman, Don, Journal of School Health


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 6 behavioral categories most responsible for the major causes of morbidity and mortality: (1) behaviors that lead to intentional and unintentional injuries; (2) tobacco use; (3) alcohol and other drug use; (4) sexual behaviors leading to sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and unintended pregnancy; (5) poor nutrition; and (6) lack of physical activity. (1) Comprehensive school health education programs should provide students with the knowledge and skills to prevent these health risk behaviors. (1) CDC and its partners devised 4 strategies to help schools reduce these risks: (2)

1. Monitor critical health risks among students and monitor school polices and programs to reduce those risks.

2. Synthesize and apply research to identify, and to provide information about, effective school polices and programs.

3. Enable state, large city, and national education and health agencies to jointly help local schools implement effective polices and programs.

4. Evaluate implemented policies and programs to iteratively assess and improve their effectiveness.

The Office of Student Services and Health Promotion, West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), in collaboration with the West Virginia University Prevention Research Center and local school health educators, is contributing to the implementation of these strategies through various assessment activities, including the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and statewide assessments of school-based tobacco control policies (3) and school-based opportunities for physical activity. (4) This paper describes the methodology and findings of a statewide school health education assessment initiative and how the findings are being used to design professional development training for school health educators in West Virginia schools.

METHODS

WVDE HEAP Team

The WVDE has a long history of recognizing the role of teachers as important stakeholders in school health, and the active involvement of local teachers was deemed essential to this process. In 1996, the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Comprehensive School Health Education and Promotion recognized the significance of involving teachers in the assessment of school health programs. (5) Accordingly, a team of West Virginia school health educators was convened to plan this assessment. Health Education Assessment Project (HEAP) team members were selected from a list of health education specialists nominated by their county school superintendents. Three health educators from each school level (elementary, middle, and high school) were selected from the list of nominations.

One of the team's first tasks was to select the grades in which to conduct the assessment. The team decided to conduct the assessment in sixth, eighth, and high school health education classes because health education is required as a separate subject in grades 6 through 8 and high school (1 unit). Health education is required at the elementary level in West Virginia but not as a separate subject. The HEAP team determined that testing in health education classes was their best opportunity to test a large number of students.

West Virginia HEAP Assessment Instrument

A second and equally important task for the team was to design the assessment instrument using items developed and validated by the State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards, Health Education Assessment Project (SCASS-HEAP). The WVDE has been participating in SCASS-HEAP since 1993. (6) The mission of SCASS-HEAP is to develop effective health education assessment resources through a collaborative process and to increase members' capacity to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student health literacy through improved instruction. SCASS-HEAP developed an assessment framework comprising 10 content areas (alcohol and other drugs, community health, consumer health, environmental health, mental and emotional health, nutrition and dietary behaviors, physical activity, sexuality and family life, tobacco use, and unintentional and intentional injuries) and 7 health education skill areas aligned with the National Health Education Standards (core concepts, accessing information, analyzing external influences, decision-making/ goal setting, interpersonal communication, self-management, and advocacy).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The West Virginia Health Education Assessment Project
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?