Although longitudinal program-level data is captured by prevention providers for individual youth participants, there is no comparison group to assess intervention/programmatic changes against. Additionally, individual program pre-post data is not comparable across providers implementing various programs, or at the County-level/State-level as risk and protective factors are assessed in different ways. With funder support, BSRI was able to implement shared measurement across 9 different evidence-based programs through the development of a standardized evaluation tool based on the Communities that Care (CTC) youth survey and risk and protective factor framework (Hawkins & Catalano, 1992). The PSOC evaluation was also able to include a proxy-comparison group, as the State implements a Youth Substance Abuse Survey taken from the CTC survey. From this State-level implementation, the most localized data available is at the County level. Therefore, using a standardized tool based on the same survey allowed BSRI to detect zip-code-level differences in risk and protective factors, identify which evidence-based programs were most effective at targeting specific risk and protective factors, and determine how those youth targeted by the PSOC compared with the general County-wide CTC survey sample regarding risk. In addition to state and county-level comparisons, a modified version of the CTC survey is used by multiple states and in communities that adopted the CTC evidence-based community-level program.
This presentation offers a unique perspective of using standardized data/shared measurement as a strategy for leveraging broader data systems to drive evaluation. Both the funder and evaluator experiences through this process will be shared with the hope that participants will have a clearer idea about how to enact this strategy in their own evaluation or service system work.