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Eval Health Prof. 2017 Dec;40(4):450-482. doi: 10.1177/0163278716673688. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

Meeting the Challenges of Longitudinal Cluster-Based Trials in Schools: Lessons From the Chicago Trial of Positive Action.

Author information

1
1 Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
2
2 University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
3
3 Adler School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL, USA.
4
4 Governors State University, University Park, IL, USA.
5
5 California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, USA.
6
6 Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.
7
7 The Research Institute at Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR, USA.
8
8 Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA.

Abstract

We describe challenges in the 6-year longitudinal cluster randomized controlled trial (CRCT) of Positive Action (PA), a social-emotional and character development (SECD) program, conducted in 14 low-income, urban Chicago Public Schools. Challenges pertained to logistics of study planning (school recruitment, retention of schools during the trial, consent rates, assessment of student outcomes, and confidentiality), study design (randomization of a small number of schools), fidelity (implementation of PA and control condition activities), and evaluation (restricted range of outcomes, measurement invariance, statistical power, student mobility, and moderators of program effects). Strategies used to address the challenges within each of these areas are discussed. Incorporation of lessons learned from this study may help to improve future evaluations of longitudinal CRCTs, especially those that involve evaluation of school-based interventions for minority populations and urban areas.

KEYWORDS:

cluster randomized trial; evaluation; longitudinal design; mobility; school based; social–emotional and character development

PMID:
27821548
DOI:
10.1177/0163278716673688
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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