; and Godette, D. Health Education Research
, vol. 17, pgs. 461-70 (2002)This study examines adoption and implementation of the US Department of Education's new policy, the 'Principles of Effectiveness', from a diffusion of innovations theoretical framework. In this report, we evaluate adoption in relation to Principle 3: the requirement to select research-based programs. Results from a sample of 104 school districts in 12 states indicate that many districts appear to be selecting research-based curricula, but that the quality of implementation is low. Only 19% of the responding district coordinators indicated that schools were implementing a research-based curriculum with fidelity. Common problems included lack of teacher training, lack of requisite materials, use of some but not all of the required lessons and teaching strategies, and failure to deliver lessons to age-appropriate student groups. This study represents the first attempt to assess the quality of implementation of research-based programs as required by the Principles of Effectiveness. We conclude that low levels of funding, inadequate infrastructure, decentralized decision making and lack of program guidance have contributed to the slow progress in improving school-based prevention.