Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2006

Abstract

Even the best program in education will fail to have the intended impact if its essential elements are not implemented properly. Degree of implementation is, then, critical to draw valid conclusions on program outcomes (e.g., Scheirer & Rezmovic, 1983). Especially important is the information on the fidelity with which a program is implemented. Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) has been defined as the determination of how close the program is implemented according to its original design or as intended (e.g., Dobson & Shaw, 1988; Dusenbury, Brannigan, Falco, & Hanse, 2003; Witt & Elliot, 1985).1 Unfortunately, empirical evidence on the effect of FOI on program success is limited. Many evaluation studies do not collect data on FOI and even fewer examine its impact on program outcomes (Dane & Schenider, 1998; Dusenbury et al., 2003; Lillehoj, Griffin, Spoth, 2004). Furthermore, studies on FOI differ considerably on their approaches (Dane & Schenider, 1998; Dusenbury et al., 2003; Huntley, 2004; Lillehoj, Griffin, Spoth, 2004); there is no set of methods and procedures that is universally known and used as standard procedure in the study of FOI. Whereas the characteristics of each program determine what has to be measured during implementation, there are some commonalities across types of programs and, therefore, some general strategies that can be developed.

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