Evaluating Interrelate's School Education Programs: Kids ConneXions
Kids ConneXions (KC) is one of six relationship and sexuality education programs delivered by Interrelate Family Centres. It involves two 90-minute class-based sessions, designed to improveYear 5 and 6 students' understanding about and development of healthy relationships and to support them to make healthy choices and build resilience in their relationships. The KC program involves a variety of creative activities and teaching methods, is facilitated by specially trained Educators and correlates well to the NSW Board of Studies' PD/H/PE syllabus. This evaluation report is based on data collected from 84 KC groups using surveys developed by Interrelate, as part of the KC program's development.
Teachers were extremely satisfied with the KC program. Almost all teachers agreed that the KC program involved suitable activities and resources, was enjoyable and useful for their students, fulfilled their own expectations and catered for students with varying ability levels. These very positive satisfaction ratings were supported by teachers' additional written comments, with 85% offering positive feedback about the KC program's approach, activities, resources, content and/or Educator. One-fifth of the teachers also suggested ways the KC program's content, approach or resources may be improved and one-third suggested additional needs which could be covered.
Students consistently reported having found the KC program a useful learning experience. Students reported moderate-high levels of learning the four key evaluation topics: 1) awareness of what constitutes a "relationship"; 2) understanding their own relationship skills; 3) understanding healthy and healthy relationships; and 4) their confidence to leave anunhealthy relationship. There were very statistically significant Pre-Post increases in the proportion of students believing they could bring "mostly good stuff" to their relationships and reporting they were likely and confident in their ability to assess the healthiness of their relationships. On face value, the data also suggest that the KC program may be of greater benefit for students already more confident in their relationship skills, with bigger post-program improvements perceived by students reporting the highest Pre Survey ratings in relation to knowing their relationship strengths and weaknesses and feeling confident in their ability to leave a bad relationship. However, these differences could also reflect an acknowledgment that the initially high self-ratings may, with hindsight, not have been entirely accurate.Although the lack of age and gender data prohibited any such sub-group comparisons in relation to the students' learnings from the KC program, no significant differences were found when comparing students from Year 6 only classes with those from the mixed or exclusively lower classes.
The reasonably high proportion of students completing the evaluation enhance confidence in the findings presented, although they could be further strengthened by including satisfaction questions in the student survey, as well as an open-ended question about their main learning. Interrelate could also consider additional evaluative processes to explore the extent and nature of any longer-term impacts associated with participating in the KC program.In the meantime, Interrelate can confidently promote the existing KC program as an appropriate, curriculum-relevant and effective way of introducing senior primary students to a range of relationship issues.
Newell, S & Graham, A 2011, Evaluating Interrelate's School Education Programs: Kids ConneXions, report prepared for Interrelate Family Centres, Sydney, NSW.