How Teachers Were Evaluated

Sidebar to the article Helping At-Risk Youth Say "No" to Gangs by Brian Higgins

The evaluation team conducted several tasks to determine whether the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) course was being taught as designed. The team assessed fidelity by (1) watching G.R.E.A.T. officers teach, (2) observing officer training, (3) surveying and interviewing G.R.E.A.T.-trained officers and supervisors, and (4) surveying school personnel.

All instructors — be they school resource officers or law enforcement officers — must complete G.R.E.A.T. officer training and be certified before being assigned to teach the program. This training (one week for officers with teaching experience and two weeks for others) introduces officers to the program and covers gang trends, emphasizing prevention over enforcement; the developmental stages of middle school students; and teaching and classroom management techniques.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, the agency responsible for operational control of G.R.E.A.T., trained a group of senior G.R.E.A.T. officers to observe classroom teaching. Evaluators observed 33 officers teaching the G.R.E.A.T. program in the 31 participating schools from September 2006 through May 2007. Each evaluator documented whether the instructor addressed each lesson component, the time spent on each component, how well the instructor engaged the students, whether activities were conducted as intended, and the overall quality of the lesson.

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